How to detect phishing emails

Almost a million people were scammed on the internet last year. One of the biggest risks on the web are phishing websites or emails that are after on your data. You may have had them: Banking mails that warn that your account has been blocked and instructions that you need to click a link. Here are some useful tips to recognize those types of practices and to keep malware and cybercriminals from your computer.

Phishing emails come in all types and sizes. Some people can see directly that some mails are scams, but in many cases it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between real and fake emails.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a criminal way of getting someone’s their money or personal information through the computer. By sending emails to thousands of addresses at once, the cybercriminals hope that some people will not be aware of the phishing attack, resulting in profit for the criminals.

Phishing emails often respond to the fear of the recipient. They do that by pretending to be a bank, which reports that your account number is blocked. You do not want that, of course, so you want to take action. They also sometimes pretend that companies claiming to have money of your credit. You will get a natural fright reaction. If you do not notice, you’re the cigar.

Phishing emails are getting better and more advanced. The scammers increasingly know what people are responding to, so they target their emails as well. Fortunately, there are always features that you learn to recognize a phishing mail. These are the most important:

Personal information

Phishing emails often ask for personal information, such as your bank account number, your social security number, or just your name and date of birth. Also, passwords or credit card information is often requested.

Banks or companies never ask in emails about this kind of personal information. If they need them, they will not ask by email. For this, they will still ask if you want to go to the headquarters for example.

If a bank or company requests personal information, it’s almost always phishing. Ignore their call and never disclose personal information via email.

Download files

In some cases, the phishing attacks ask for a file to be downloaded. For example, it would be easy to enter or change data. Here too, banks never send you such files. Therefore, if you receive a file from your bank or company, do not open it.

Never open files (such as .exe) that you do not expect. For example, you can get malware on your computer.


Phishing emails almost never begin with a personal prefix. In 99 out of 100, they start with something like “Best Customer” or “Dear Relationship.” If a bank (or other service) specifically attempts to reach you, it will always use your name, and often there will also be other information such as your account number.

If an email (asking for personal information) does not appeal to you with a personal header, phishing may be possible.

The link

The purpose of a phishing mail is generally to click on a link, which causes malware to be installed, or which will cause your personal information to end up with someone else than you are told. Therefore, click as little as possible on a link.

Keep your mouse on the link, but do not click on it. You now see the link to which the link is linked. Look before you first click on which address it is. Do not be tempted by the officially looking website. Cybercriminals spend a lot of time and money in the naming of websites that resemble those of, for example, a bank. If an offer seems too good to be true, that’s often too. Nigerian princes rarely give away their full fortune in practice, and that beautiful Russian girl really does not really care about you. Sorry.

Do not leave your email address anywhere. Phishing mailers send their mails to millions of email addresses at once, often hacking them or having bought from hackers. The more websites your email address has, the greater the chance of reaching a phisher, and above all, the standard advice is: keep watch! If you are skeptical that there are multiple spelling mistakes in your bank’s email, this may indicate that it does not actually come from the bank. Take note of who you give your personal information, do not visit any dubious websites, and do not randomly download anything you find on the web.

Tips you must follow to increase your security:

  • Install and use an updated antivirus
  • Do not share your password
  • Do not write down your password
  • If you are exchanging personal information make sure that the site is https

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