Step 1: Check The Actual URL
Many times, people try to cover up where their true URL goes to. The easiest way to discover where that little blue link will take you is by hovering over it and looking at the bottom left our your Internet Browser. Most browsers have this feature and will save you A LOT of trouble and time. Make sure to do this every time.
Step 2: Do NOT Download .Exe Files
The most common mistake by users of E-mail is downloading an Executable file (.Exe). These files can run automatically once they are finished downloading and may cause Trojan Viruses to enter your computer. On some cases, these files have been known to log your personal information and send it to the maker of the Executable. Remember, only download trusted files such as .Doc, .Zip, and other universally safe files.
Step 3: Look At The Clear Signs
Many phishers don’t try hard enough to make their E-mails look exactly like they should. There are a few little things you can look out for to tell if the E-mail is a fake.
-The formatting is really badly done.
-The links provided are either too short or too long.
-E-mails that usually have pictures when the company never sends pictures.
-All lower case or upper case lettering.
-If they ask you to input your password.
Remember, these are clear signs that the E-mail is a phishing E-mail and should be deleted.
Step 4: Uh Oh! I Clicked A Link!
Now don’t fret completely yet. Just because you have clicked a link on accident, doesn’t mean your computer is now a ticking bomb. Just do not enter any information or provide anything for them to contact you. Close the browser by hitting the X on the top right of your screen and begin a security virus scan. Usually you would not get a virus from just opening a link, but there have been cases when the Cookies provided by sites have viruses.
Step 5: Attachments Are Evil!
Just like Step 2 with the Executable files, any attachment provided should not be downloaded or checked for viruses. Just leave these files alone until you can verify that the E-mail is not a fraud and can be trusted. Usually banks and other financial companies will not provide attachments, but rather include images and other stuff in the HTML part of the E-mail. The only E-mails that would provide you with attachments are companies that need you to fill out a Word Document for application etc.
Step 6: Report Them Buggers
The best defense against these people is a major offense. Most E-mail providers offer their members a way to report phishing scams. By reporting these scams, you can save other people a lot of hassle that do not know this information. You not only are getting rid of scams slowly over time, but you could be saving people thousands of dollars.
Other Ridiculous Schemes
One of the most often successful schemes are when people fake their identity of some rich person in another country. They say that they cannot do a certain task and need a certain amount of money to transfer their money to the United States. Once the person does send the money, they never hear back from this mysterious person again. There have been multiple incidents of people sending over thousands of dollars to these scammers, and it ruins their lives. Be sure to think really hard about certain E-mails, and if you are having any doubts at all, delete it.