How to spot a phishing email


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s being called a cyber pandemic. Now more than ever before, cyber criminals are taking advantage of people being home, looking for just one person to slip up.

“It is the world’s largest work from home experiment,” said Chris Freedman, founder of OnDefend, a cyber security services provider.

Freedman is accustomed to working remotely, but for many working from home this is new territory.

“In the business world, you can walk around the corner and say, ‘Joe, did you send me that email?’” he said. “In the personal world, there’s not much reference material right now.”

Unless you have an IT department set up in your extra bedroom, Freedman said, there are a lot of pitfalls to avoid. The primary ways scammers get access to your computer is through websites and emails.

“They’re not necessarily targeting you as an individual, it’s kind of like a shotgun approach to get as many as possible,” Billy Steeghs, a cyber security expert who works with Freedman, said.

Companies hire Steeghs and Freedman to hack into their computer systems and identify potential security weaknesses. And let’s just say these two are good at their jobs.

To show how easy it is for scammers to prey on people, Steeghs created a phishing email, or an email that’s intended to look like it came from someone else in hopes that the recipient will be duped.

For his example, Steeghs made the email look like it came from Amazon, a popular place to shop online.

“So, it’s $10 and it says apply to your Amazon account,” he explained. “Who wouldn’t fall for this?”

With emails like this, scammers can get access to your account the moment you input your credentials. Then it’s up to the cyber criminals what they decide to do with your personal information.

So, how do you spot it?

“I’m hovering over this Amazon account, you see I’m hovering over it and this is an action you can do, and you can see to the left it doesn’t actually say Amazon.com,” Steeghs said.

Whenever you receive an email and there’s a link attached, hover over the link but don’t click it. While hovering, look at the bottom left of your screen. The website’s URL will pop up and if it doesn’t…

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