Help Desk FAQ

Identity theft

 

How can I tell if an email is fraudulent?

You can stay safe from phishing by remembering the following:

1.  Does the email ask you to go to a website and verify personal information? Legitimate companies don't ask you to verify your personal information in response to an email.

2.  What is the tone of the mail?  Most phishing emails have a sense of urgency—they may threaten discontinued service, a closed account or some other consequence if you don't take immediate action.

3.  What is the quality of the email? Many phishing emails have misspellings, bad grammar, poor punctuation or unnatural wording.

4.  Are the links in the email valid? Deceptive links in phishing emails look like they go to a valid site, but they actually send you to a fraudulent website. You might be able to see if the link is legitimate just by moving your mouse over it.

5.  Is the email personalized with your name and applicable account information? Many phishing emails use generic salutations and information (e.g., "Dear Customer" or "Dear Account Holder") instead of your name.

6.  What is the sender's email address? Many phishing emails come from an account that includes the company's name somewhere in the address, but it's altered to not match the legitimate address exactly.

7.  Are there links in the email? If you suspect an email to be phishing, don't click on any links. Type the company's valid address directly into your web browser. Or look on one of your recent billing statements to find the phone number to call and ask the company about the email.

Most companies allow you to forward suspicious emails to them. Visit the company's legitimate website to find the correct email address.

 

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