5 Ways to Spot a Phishing Email


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Scammers are getting smarter about how they trick unsuspecting email users into providing personal information. This means that you have to get smarter about protecting yourself when reviewing unsolicited emails. Start now with these simple steps:

1) Check for a personalized subject line

Many companies will insert your name into the subject line or at the beginning of their email. If you aren’t mentioned by name, be suspicious and check the rest of the email for other signs of phishing, such as those listed below.

2) Look carefully at the email’s domain name

Scammers will alter an email address to mimic a real company name. Many times, they come very close to the actual company name, but there are telltale signs to look for:

• Spelling mistakes are the easiest way to spot a phishing attempt. If the web address is not spelled correctly, there is a good chance the email is phishing for your private data.

• Double-check how the company’s name is used in the email address. Scammers are clever and find ways of putting the company’s name in the email address, but that doesn’t mean it’s really from the company. For example, if the accounting department at Company Inc. sent the email, the email address would probably read, “accounting.company.com”. However, a scam email will likely reverse the order, so it would read, “company.accounting.com”. When in doubt, always refer to a previously sent email from the company to verify its authenticity.

3) Be wary of an exaggerated sense of urgency

Many phishing email subject lines try to rush you to take action, such as “Open now or your account will be CLOSED!!!”. Banks, lenders, and credit providers will likely never use exaggerated punctuation to grab your attention. However, these institutions are required by law to send notices within a reasonable timeframe to handle any issues. To verify the email’s authenticity, always check in your service provider’s online account dashboard, or call them directly.

4) Watch out for irrelevant subjects

If you receive an email about a purchase you never made, it could be a phishing attempt. Before opening the email, ask the other people who have access to the same online accounts if they made the purchase. If not, delete the email without opening it or clicking any links within it.

5) Determine if the email is requesting personal information.

If you receive an unsolicited email asking for personal details, do not open it. The only time you should click links asking you to change or verify your personal data is if you made the request. Banks, insurers, and the IRS will never reach out to you via email for that type of information.

Your information security and privacy are important to us. To learn more about scams involving email, voicemail, and other methods, see our fraud education and identity theft pages. If you ever receive a suspicious email claiming to come from PurePoint Financial, please let us know by visiting your local Financial Center or by calling a Client Support Specialist at 1-855-488-7873.

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