The rates of spam emails have increased dramatically recently, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only are these emails irritating, they can be very dangerous. Ultimately their aim is to generate money, but they may also be used to obtain personal information, deceive you into certain actions or infect your computer or wider IT system.
With the danger and fear around these emails, how can you keep yourself and your organisation safe?
How to identify SPAM
Some initial things to look out for include:
- Bad grammar / spelling mistakes
- Emails from organisations that do not usually email you
- ANY request for login details, bank details, personal information that you did not request (Example: Password Reset request that you have not requested)
- The email address it is from is not recognised or is made up of random characters
Email Address Spoofing
Email spoofing is a method that makes an email look legitimate by claiming it is from an address you know or within your organisation. This is a forged address, and is not from who it claims to be. It is another method to trick you into doing what the spammer wants.
If an email looks wrong, is out of character or was not expected carefully examine the sending address and content. If you are not sure, call or speak to the person who sent it to confirm. Do not action if you are unsure.
What to do/not to do if you think an email might be dangerous
- DO NOT click on any links if an email looks suspicious in any way.
- DO NOT click ‘Unsubscribe’ links, these are often used to gather information and verify a valid email address, opening you up to more SPAM.
- DO report the email to your IT Support, they will advise.
- DO report the SPAM email to organisation it claims to represent, they often work hard to shut down these spammers.
- DO ‘Block Sender’ and add email to Junk (in Outlook right click the email, hover over “Junk” and then click “Block Sender”)
What to do if you think you have clicked a SPAM link
- Contact your IT Support provider as soon as possible.
- It is still common for people to mistakenly click on spam links. If you have done this and have a feeling your computer is infected, you should disconnect your device immediately. This prevents any malware from spreading to other devices which is possible if connected to the same network.
- Scan your system using antivirus software but make sure this is done offline.
- Change your passwords to protect your accounts (emails, bank account, social media etc.) but avoid using the same passwords and ensure they are hard to guess and whilst doing this make sure you check for any unusual bank account transactions.
Text Message SPAM
Sometimes spammers will attempt these methods via text messages. These usually ask you to carry out a task, purchase gift cards or forward information. Follow the above advice and do not click on any links or action anything that seems suspicious.
Be on guard
Despite always being cautious of SPAM, their methods are very clever. So do not be made to feel stupid if you are a victim just ensure you follow all the correct steps as soon as possible and report the email to limit the chances of it happening again to yourself or others.
Keep your organisation safe online
Support on the Spot offer high quality IT support and cyber security, all of which will help you and your teams stay safe whilst you work. Get in touch if you’d like to discuss more.