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Email: Should You Follow the Link?

Email is still the primary method of communicating online. We send documents, personal greetings, and even forward interesting mails to our friends. Email has been a part of our daily lives. But you need to be cautious when using your email service. The criminals have devised ingenious ways to rob you of your identity, money, and even reputation.




Links in email and Phishing

Have you received an email from someone that tells you to follow some links? Before clicking the link, you do well to step back and take a moment to think. You can be a victim of PHISHING. Phishing is a technique to steal personal information from you like passwords and bank account numbers. It uses emails and instant messaging to send fraudulent LINKS that diverts you to a website that may do any of the following:

1. Pretend to be a "genuine" website and ask you to log in with your password and other information.

2. Install malware on your computer designed to steal passwords and other personal information. (Malware can be a virus, worm, spyware, etc.)




How to know if it is PHISHING?

Of course, you don't need to taste a poison just to know that it is indeed a poison, isn't it? In the same manner, there are indications that an email is a potential email phishing.

1. IT IS UNEXPECTED
You didn't expect it or you may not even know the person/entity that sends it to you.

2. IT IS URGENT.
It prompts you to an urgent action to follow the link in the email. It may say: “Hurry! Claim your prize by clicking this link!”



3. SOUNDS UNUSUALLY FORMAL
Sometimes, the phishing email may seem to come from your friends email address. In these cases, take note of the tone of the language. If the tone of the mail sounds unusually formal, it can be a form of phishing. If you know your friends well, you might as well know the tone of their word when the email really originated from them. If you doubt that an email is not from them, ask them. DO NOT REPLY to the message. WRITE A SEPARATE EMAIL AND CHECK FROM THEM.

4. THE LINK Doesn't DISPLAY THE TRUE URL
Check the link. You do not need to follow the link. Just right click on it, and see its properties. When using Firefox and Chrome browsers, click on the “inspect element” option to view the actual URL.
For Firefox and Chrome users, right click and click on inspect element to display the URL of a link.

Below is a sample email I received that I suspect to be a PHISHING email. I didn't expect it. It urges me to follow the link and the link is different from the actual URL.
The TRUE URL is HIDDEN in the link.

The next time you received an email, THINK BEFORE YOU FOLLOW THE LINK.

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