You receive an email politely requesting a donation for victims of the most recent hurricane to make landfall. The sender's domain reads "firstname.lastname@example.org" and though the organization could be legitimate, you haven't heard of it. Usually your spam folder shields you from these kinds of emails, but for some reason this one is sitting at the top of your inbox. You're computer savvy, and you're not taking chances with any email from an organization that's asking for personal and financial information. This is especially true when you didn't request it and can't verify its identity.
Whether we like it or expect it, you will be the target of these phishing emails every day. Most of us have gotten relatively good at identifying these emails and using common sense to not comply with their requests. Still, it's not always clear what steps to take when you receive a phishing email that has skirted around your spam folder.
One of the reasons phishing emails are so sinister — and unfortunately often successful — is that they're crafted to look legitimate. Sometimes it's difficult to recognize what's genuine and what's a phishing attempt. Generally, the following features are common among phishing emails and should raise red flags:
Being vigilant about spotting phishing emails is key. If you've come across one in your inbox, use these strategies to avoid becoming a victim of a phishing attack.
Just remember the best way to handle a phishing email is to delete it immediately. Whether you take any additional actions to limit your exposure to these attacks is a bonus.