How to spot the signs of a phishing scam

Scammers are smart and phishing scams are just one way they get their hands on personal information.

You wouldn’t give your bank details to a stranger on the street, so surely you wouldn’t hand over sensitive information to someone on the internet – right?

The reality is scams happen every day that trick people into doing just this.

The problem here is that some scams seem so real, or make us panic into sharing private information, that we don’t realise a mistake has been made until it’s too late.

So, when it comes to phishing scams – those carried out over email – what are the signs to look out for to protect yourself and your business?

Although we use a phishing example here, the same principles apply to smishing scams (those that happen over text messages), so watch out for these tell-tale signs in texts too. It’s also important to know that smishing scams tend to come from real mobile numbers that, at a first glance, seem to be authentic. If in doubt, always reach out to the business through official support channels to check.

Signs to look out for

Generic, urgent subject line

A legitimate email usually has a detailed subject line.

Questionable sender email address

If the sender's email address doesn't match the name, it's most likely a scam.

Unusual or impersonal introduction

Think about whether this is how the sender would usually address you.

Poor grammar or spelling

A phishing email often includes spelling mistakes - a sign it hasn't come from a professional business.

Suspicious URL

When you hover over the link, see if it displays an unsecure address (http rather than https) and see if the address matches the sender. If you aren't sure whether it's safe, DON'T click - always verify it first.

Unnecessary urgency

Scam emails tend to include a sense of urgency to prompt a quick response.

No contact details

A generic signature and lack of contact information is a tell-tale sign of a scam, as you can't verify the sender.

Everyone’s susceptible to scams and they’re around every corner, with 41% of European SMEs in 2020 experiencing a phishing attack.

Since scams and scammers are becoming smarter, there are so many opportunities to accidentally compromise confidential information. So, if you want to protect your business, you and your team need to know how to spot the signs of a scam.

Worried you aren’t well-equipped to spot future scans? Our V-Hub Digital Advisers are here to help. Get in touch for free support.

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS)

Help protect users, devices, apps, and data in a mobile-first world.

Free one-to-one support

Available Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm, our friendly team are here to provide guidance and support on the topics that matter to your business.

0808 005 7400

Content made available to you on this website is for general information purposes. Independent advice should be obtained for your needs. Read full disclaimer

Call me back