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How to spot phishing emails
How to spot phishing emails

The key characteristics of a phishing email that you need to be aware of

Annali avatar
Written by Annali
Updated over a week ago

Occasionally phishing messages slip through spam filtering software and do make their way to a user’s inbox and when this does happen it's important to know the key characteristics of phishing emails to protect yourself and your business.

How to recognize phishing emails

Scammers have become more sophisticated when it comes to sending out phishing emails. But there are still some signs you can look for.

  • A bank — maybe not even your own — is asking for your account information or other personal financial information. Your bank, or any financial institution, will never ask for your Medicare number, bank account number, or PIN by email. Never provide this information in response to an email.

  • Spelling and grammatical mistakes. There was a time when you could easily spot phishing emails because they were littered with spelling and grammar mistakes. Scammers have gotten better at avoiding these errors, but if you do receive an email littered with typos and weird language, that email might be sent from someone phishing.

  • The generic greeting. Phishing emails might not be addressed specifically to you. Instead, the email might start with a generic greeting such as “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Account Holder.”

  • A call for immediate action. Phishers want you to act quickly, without thinking. That’s why many will send emails asking you to immediately click on a link or send account information to avoid having your bank account or credit card suspended. Never reply hastily to an emergency request. Urgent requests for action are often phishing scams.

  • Senders you don’t recognize. If you don’t recognize the sender of an email, consider deleting it. If you do decide to read it, be careful not to click on links or download files.

  • Senders you think you recognize. You might get a phishing email from a name you recognize. But here’s the catch: That email may have come from the compromised email account of someone you know. If the email requests personal information or money, it’s likely it’s a phishing email.

  • Hyperlinks. If you receive an email that requests you click on an unknown hyperlink, hovering over the option might show you that the link is really taking you to a fake, misspelled domain. This link is created to look legitimate but is likely a phishing scam.

  • Attachments. The sender included attachments that don’t make sense or appear spammy.

What to do when you spot a possible phishing email

  • Once a message has been discovered it is important for you to check the email’s message headers for the Return Path. If it is not from a sender you traditionally deal with please contact our support desk to blacklist the entire domain.

  • If it is a major provider (,, etc.) it is better to only blacklist the email address. You can do this from your webmail account or also contact our support desk for assistance.

  • After you have edited the blacklist, please mark the message as spam (in webmail and Outlook) and then delete it.

To blacklist addresses please follow the steps provided:

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