Phishing emails are the #1 way hackers circumvent firewalls, filters and anti-virus software, so it is critical that you know how to spot a threatening e-mail.
#1. The Authority E-mail
Phishing e-mails that impersonate your bank, the IRS or some authority figure are most common. The rule of thumb is: ANY e-mail that comes in where 1) you don’t PERSONALLY know the sender, including e-mails from the IRS, Microsoft or your “bank,” and 2) asks you to “verify” your account should be deleted immediately. ANY truly important notification will be sent the old-fashioned snail mail route or they will call you.
#2. The “Account Verification” e-mail
An e-mail that asks you to verify your password, bank information or login credentials, OR to update your account information should be ignored. No legitimate vendor sends e-mails asking for this; they will simply ask you upon logging into their site to update or verify your information, if necessary.
#3. The Typo E-mail
It there are obvious typos, grammar mistakes or spelling errors, delete the e-mail. Often hacker emails are coming from overseas from people who do not speak or write English well!
#4. The Zip file, PDF or Invoice Attachment
If you do not specifically KNOW the sender of an email, NEVER, EVER open an attachment. This includes PDFs, zip files, invoices, music or video files, delivery notifications, etc. Any file can carry a virus, so better to delete it than be sorry.