Phishing Challenge

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How to Spot a Phishing Email

The Email is not Addressed to the Recipient

(Often lines like “Dear Customer”, “Dear User” are used in place of your name – any company that is legitimate will have your name on file and address you accordingly in your email).

Grammatical Errors

Scam emails are often riddled with spelling and grammar errors, be on the look-out for these issues as they are usually a telltale sign. (example image below has many grammar errors and uses strange wording).

Suspicious Attachments

If you receive a PDF, Excel, Word, or other document which asks for an activation, enabling, macros, or other popup for editing, please use caution. This is the most common method for ransomware delivery. Upon activation, the software will silently download itself, and run without being noticed. This will result in encryption of all files made available to the software both locally and over shared drives.

Action was not Taken

Sometimes these scam emails will say you have exceeded login attempts, reset a password, or account action is required – these cases make it very obvious they are not legitimate because you have not taken those actions on their website.

Multiple Links

These emails typically contain multiple links to websites that are not what they are pretending to be. For example, their link may say https://truewebsite.com but the actual location it takes you to is https://scamwebsite.com; You can often hover over a link in an email to see if there is a redirect.

From Suspicious Sender

The sender/from email usually looks “off” often using a similar name for who they want to be perceived as in their email address. For example: someone may try to come off as the University of Chicago and use sender@uchicago.com where a legitimate email for any university always ending in .edu, for example sender@uchicago.edu.

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