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How to Spot Phishing Emails

Electronic fraud, theft, and other malicious online behaviours, such as phishing, have become an increasing threat. The most common form of phishing involves emails designed to look harmless and trick you into giving up personal information.

Types of Phishing

  • Email Phishing – These are often crafted identically to company service provider emails (e.g. Netflix or PayPal), asking you to log into your account or click a link to update your personal or payment information. 
  • Spear Phishing – These emails appear to be from someone you know or a company that targets you explicitly asking for assistance.

Tips to Avoid a Fraudulent Email

  • Click on the ‘From’ email address source to view and confirm that it is legitimate. Sometimes extra letters or numbers will be added, giving the fraudulent email away.
  • If there is a link they are directing you to click, hover your mouse over it, and the URL will display in the bottom left corner of your screen, allowing you to double-check its authenticity.
  • If a company is asking you to log in to verify information you have not initiated, do not use the link through the email. Access the website and your account the way you would usually log on. If there is an issue with your account, you will still see it from here. 
  • Watch out for suspicious email attachments. Do not open attachments unless you expect to receive one from that person. If it appears from someone you know, call or message them (not through email) to verify they sent it. 

If in doubt, ask! Go directly to the source to see if they sent you the message. Many fraud attempts are disguised so it is best to stay informed about how best to protect yourself.

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