How to Spot a Phishing Email


Phishing is where you receive an email that appears to be from a trusted organisation but is designed to get your personal information such as login and password or credit card details.

Anti-virus software can protect you from some of these emails but many get through that protection.

Never put your personal Information in an email!

No reputable company will ask for personal details such as passwords, credit card details, mother’s maiden name etc. by email.  So, if you do get such a request – refuse.

Phishing Emails will usually have some or all of the following indications.

  1. Typing and Grammatical Errors

Many scam emails are translated from another language and that often leaves a tell-tale of poor grammar and odd use of words.  Anything with typing errors shows lack of professionalism and is unlikely to be found in an email from a reputable company. Also, some scammers deliberately put grammatical errors in messages to reduce the number of return messages they get.

  1. An attachment

Never click to open an attachment unless you are sure it is safe.

Attached files can contain viruses and other malicious code that can damage your computer, steal confidential information or hold you to ransom.  If the company is one that you already deal with then contact that company to check the email and attachment are safe.

  1. Links

A link may look as if it is safe but if you hover the cursor over the link then it may display a different value and not what you expect.  If this is different  to the text, then clearly something is wrong and potentially unsafe.

  1. Don’t Fall For Stories

If an email appears to be from a family member or friend  in trouble don’t reply immediately – check the truth of the story first by other means.

  1. The “From” entry

This is just text so the sender can make it show anything they want. To check the email sender – hover the cursor over the name and it should show the real senders email address. Even if this matches it does not absolutely prove that the email came from that address .

  1. The “To” entry

If the email is from a reputable company that you already deal with then it should show your correct name. If it shows nothing or ‘To recipients’ or an unknown name then the email is almost certainly a spam message sent out to large numbers of people. Beware.


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