Spam: unsolicited emails or messages - commonly bulk advertising.
How to manage spam
Don’t unsubscribe from spam emails. By unsubscribing spammers learn that your email is correct and will continue spamming you.
Instead, use your email settings to direct them to your junk folder.
Phishing: fraudulent emails or messages attempting to deceive you and steal sensitive information such as passwords or bank details.
Examples of phishing emails
- Reporting unusual activity in your bank account
- Claiming your account is suspended
- Attempting to share files with you
- Impersonating a friend or work colleague
- Falsely informing you that you’ve won a competition
These different types of scams all have the same goal: to try to trick you into revealing your sensitive details, or to click a link or download an attachment which contain malicious software to access your private information.
How to spot phishing emails
Although phishing emails are designed to trick you, understanding the key 'giveaways' of a fake message will help you to spot them and to avoid opening malicious attachments or voluntarily giving away sensitive information to cyber-criminals.
Here are some common signs that an email you have received is a phishing message.
Official communications will generally have no grammar or spelling errors. Such mistakes can be a warning that the email is malicious.
Generic greetings and sign offs
A legitimate personal email would address you by name, whereas a phishing email is bulk delivered to a wide audience and will use default greetings and sign-offs such as “Dear Sir”.
Call to action
A phishing email will sometimes instruct you to act quickly to avoid a problem. This is to try and rush you into clicking their malicious material also known as 'click-bait'.
Suspicious links and fake websites
If you are suspicious about an email and it contains a link that you are being directed to click, hover your mouse over it to preview the URL. If the URL has no resemblance to the website of the alleged sender, this is a strong indication that it is a fake link.
If any of the above red flags have been observed in an email, do not open the attachment. This may be what the scammer is using to get your private information.
What to do if you receive a phishing email
- Don’t respond
- Don’t click links or download attachments
- Delete the email and report it to your relevant security administrator