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Email Safety: How to Spot Phishing Emails and Stay a Bit Safer Online

April 17, 2024

What are Spam and Phishing Emails?

Imagine you have a mailbox outside your house. Every day, you get letters from friends, but sometimes, you find weird letters from people you don't know, trying to sell you things or trick you. In the email world, these are called spam (the annoying ads) and phishing (the tricky ones trying to fool you).

How to Spot These Sneaky Emails:

Check the Sender's Email Address: If the email says it's from 'Lender123,' but the email address looks like a bunch of jumbled letters and numbers, that's a red flag! It's like getting a letter from a friend, but the handwriting looks all wrong.

Look Out for Weird Greetings or Subject Lines: If the email starts with something like 'Dear Valued Customer' instead of your name, be cautious. It's like getting a birthday card that doesn't even say your name on it!

Spelling Mistakes are Clues: Big companies have people who check emails for mistakes. If you see lots of spelling errors, it might be a spam or phishing email trying to trick you.

They Ask for Personal Info: Never, ever share your personal info like passwords, Social Security Number, credit card numbers or your birthday with anyone over email.

Too Good to Be True: If an email promises you a million free video games just for clicking a link, think twice. It's probably not real. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Links in Emails: If an email contains a link in it, you can try to verify its legitimacy. Move your cursor over the link (hover over it), but do not click it, hold your cursor there for a few seconds, and the destination of the link will pop up. A link that appears to go to one location, but actually links to another is a big red flag.

Tools to Help Keep You Safe:

Google's Safe Browsing: If you're not sure about a website link in an email, you can use Google's Safe Browsing website. Just copy the link without clicking on it and paste the link there, and it'll tell you if it's safe or not (see Google link below)

Changing Your Email Password: Think of your email password like a secret handshake. If you keep it the same forever, someone might learn it. Changing your password is like coming up with a new secret handshake every so often, so only your real friends can get in.

Always make sure you have working anti-virus software: Anti-virus software is a must have in today’s world so make sure you have this installed and have it set to run updates daily. As well make sure you run system wide scans on a weekly basis.

Always do backups: It is imperative that you also have backups of your computer so in the worst-case scenario you have a backup to turn to.


- Always think before you click. It's like looking both ways before crossing the street.

- If you're not sure about an email or a link in it, never click it.

- Keep your personal information safe.

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