Generally speaking most people I talk to are VERY good at spotting the nonsense emails which appear in their Inboxes. However, the criminals are getting more sophisticated and we all need to be increasingly aware; yes, even me!
What the criminals are usually after are some sort of account details. As most websites rely on a simple email address and password combination, these emails will lead you to a fake website where this information can be gathered. So, how can you combat this?
Assuming the email is actually of interest to you i.e. you haven’t already deleted it, then the first thing to check is the email address of the sender: does it look like a proper business email address from that company? Really bad phishing emails will use an ordinary email address, which looks like a friend has sent the email, even though it purports to be from PayPal, Barclays, Sainsburys, Amazon, etc.
If the email passes that check, then there will undoubtedly be something they want you to click on, but where is it going? Now, this is where it gets more difficult to check. On a computer or laptop it is easy to drift your mouse pointer over the link (no clicking, just DRIFT!) and a link of where it is going to take you will appear, either where the mouse pointer is or in the bottom left corner of the window you are in. The start of the website address is the bit you want and will correspond to the company who allegedly sent you the email. If it doesn’t then that is the give away. Unfortunately, on a tablet or smart phone you have no such ability to check in this way. All you can do here is leave the email and check it when you are next on your laptop or computer.
Internet Security is useless in these situations, as it is designed to deal with physical attacks on your device and it cannot work out when you are being conned. Your best defence has always been, and still is, common sense! If you work on the basis that if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t, then you should stay safe and sound.