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Published On: November 15, 2018 by Blake Schwank

Opening the wrong attachment sent to you via email can have dire consequences for your computer and your privacy. Although we don’t like to think about it, there are people out there who would just love to gain access to your address book, your passwords and your personal information…and use this information to take advantage of you and your friends. Fortunately, there are a number of red flags that can tell you the email you just received isn’t all it purports to be.

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Ways to identify malicious emails

1. The email is from a generic address. The majority of fake emails come from common email hosts, such as Gmail. If you usually receive an email from a friend using his business email address and all of a sudden you get one supposedly from him using a Gmail account, that should make you suspicious. It could be legit, but it’s wise to verify it before opening any attachments or clicking on any links.

2. The email asks you to click on a link. Clicking on a link (or opening an attachment) is how the crooks get your information. When you click the link, it activates malware that infects your computer and gets them access to some or all of your information. Be very suspicious is the gist of the message is getting you to click on a link, such as “look at this link I found for you,” even if it looks like it’s from a friend.

3. There are spelling and grammar errors. While we all make typos and sometimes are lazy with our grammar, you should be suspicious if the person’s name or company is spelled incorrectly and/or if their grammar seems stilted, as if English isn’t their primary language.

What to do if you suspect you have received a malicious email

The first thing you should do is to call or text the person that supposedly wrote the fake email and verify whether they sent it. If what you suspect is true, and it IS a fake, malicious email, they will want to know that someone is pretending to be them while perpetrating a crime. And, of course, make sure to delete that phony email so you or someone in your household or office doesn’t inadvertently click on the malicious link.

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To learn more tips about keeping your email account, your cell phone, and your computer secure and for computer services in Colorado Springs, Call Curtis or Blake first at (719) 355-2440.

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