The Signs to Look for When Looking at a Possible Phishing Attack

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with IDTheftSecurity.com Inc

One of the common ways that hackers can trick their victims is through a phishing attack. They can do this by writing and sending an email that looks like it comes from a real source. This email might ask you for things like your username or password for a certain account, or it might have an attachment or link, which downloads malicious software to your network or computer. Some of these attacks even look like they are coming from a client, an employee, or your boss.

Here are some signs that you might be the potential victim of a phishing attack.

You are Asked for Personal Info

One of the signs that an email is a phishing email is if you are asked for personal info. Most of these emails look extremely real, and they seem like they are being sent from a trusted source, like your bank, a local hospital, or a site like PayPal. But they are scams. Think of it this way; your bank won’t ask for your bank account information. It already knows your account info, so if something seems weird, it’s probably a scam.

You are Asked for Money

If you get an email asking for money, even if it looks legit, it is probably a scam. For instance, if a client emails you and asks for a wire transfer, call them up and ask if it’s real. What makes this such a good scam is that in most cases, the scammer has logged into the person’s account because they steal the credentials. So, you may actually be getting an email from the account of your company’s CEO…but it’s not the CEO who is writing the email.

You Sense Urgency

If you get an email that has a sense of urgency, like an urgent transfer, it is probably a scam. As soon as you see that something is “urgent,” bells and whistles should go off in your head. Hackers like to cause panic because they know people are more likely to rush to do as asked. Let’s look at this example: you might get an email from your back saying that your bank account has been compromised, and it’s urgent that you go to a certain site, enter your account details, and confirm your account number. Well, guess what? If you do this, the scammer now has access to your bank account information.

The Website or Email Address Look Weird

You might also get an email that has a weird looking address or website. In general, hackers try to put the name of a company you might recognize in the email address. But that doesn’t mean it’s real. For example, you might bank with Chase Bank. You get an email from @chasebank1.com but guess what? That’s not really Chase. All Chase emails will simply be from @chase.com.

Think About Your Relationship with the Company

You also should think about the relationship you have with the company you are getting an email from. For example, any email you get from your bank or your health insurance company should come from the company’s system, not from a weird looking email address. Also, if you don’t even have an account with a company you are getting emails from, it’s certainly a scam.

You Get an Email from Yourself

Look at the email closely. Is it coming from…you? Technically, of course, it isn’t, but scammers do this trick a lot.

There are Many Emails in the “To:” Area of the Email

You also want to look at who the email is going to. If there are a lot of email addresses in the “To:” section, it is likely a scam.

Keep an Eye Out for Links

One of the ways that people fall for scams is because they click on the links that are found in emails. Some of these links will download malicious software to your computer and others might take you to a page where someone will try to trick you into giving personal information. Before clicking on a link, hover over it and take a look. If the address is weird, don’t click it.

Spelling or Grammar Errors

Most of these emails that are trying to scam you come from overseas, so it’s very common to see spelling or grammar errors in the email. If you see this, it’s very likely a scam.

Look for Attachments

Finally, if the email has an odd-looking attachment like a Zip file, a PDF, or Word doc, don’t ever open it. It is very likely that there is malware, or a virus, attached. If you believe the attachment could be real, scan it with your antivirus software to be safe.

Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.

Comments (27)

Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

    I get emails confirming my order for a new plasma TV from Amazon.  Of course, they want me to reply or click the link to explain that I didn't order that TV.  And if I am gullible enough to reply, they are going for my credit card number.

May 29, 2021 06:03 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

May 29, 2021 07:37 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning RObert. My delete button needs replacement it is used so much as a result of your hints. Thanks! Enjoy your day!

May 30, 2021 04:42 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

These are all great things to watch out for. Thank you for taking the time to share!

May 30, 2021 05:07 AM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

Great tips, the fake phone calls are constant also from your electric company, AT&T, IRS etc need to stay alert and scrutinize everything.

May 30, 2021 06:12 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Great info. Basically I do not open 35% of the emails I receive daily and they get deleted or I never see them because they go to spam. Same with texts from strangers with links or too generic a message...deleted and blocked.

May 30, 2021 09:18 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Great tips, Robert. I see this stuff all the time it seems.  But I imagine a lot of people fall for these.

Jeff

May 30, 2021 11:21 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

i don't know how I missed this but thanks to Kathy Streib I found it 

May 30, 2021 01:43 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

WOW! Great (yet, scary) information and this leads me to ask the obvious question - is there a preferred email we should be using? Gmail? 

 

Looking forward to hearing your presentation on Tuesday!

May 31, 2021 08:52 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
Thanks for letting me know the skinny. I get a couple of these phishing things every once in a while
May 31, 2021 09:40 PM
Paula McDonald, Ph.D.
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Excellent information for us all. These scams are so prevalent and invasive.

Jun 01, 2021 03:40 AM
CANDACE (Candy) STEVENS, EA
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Great information Robert Siciliano.  Sometimes I get these emails or phone calls and think, "Do you think I am that stupid?"

However, I do know people do fall for these scams. 

Jun 01, 2021 09:32 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ
602-380-4886

These buggers keep on trying and we do our best to zap em fast. The funnier ones are from Law Enforement calls....sure, right you're coming to arrest me for what?  LOL

Jun 01, 2021 05:47 PM
Erik Hiss
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Worthington, OH
You can trust me for all your real estate needs!

Thanks for pointing this out. I can usually spot a phisher when I see one, but most people can't and it's paramount that we all learn how to avoid getting scammed.

Jun 02, 2021 06:49 AM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Another informative and useful post. I constantly remind myself to take action cautiously. Thanks so much for reminding us to be alert.

Jun 03, 2021 07:29 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Good stuff, Robert. I've seen some pretty sophisticated phishers out there, but most give themselves away with something from your list.

Jun 05, 2021 03:48 PM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

I send a lot of documents over the computer...but I use a "secret" method that those who are receiving know it is from me.  Not quite 100% foolproof but better than a kick in the pants!!

Jun 07, 2021 10:36 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA
ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN

I have gotten so many emails, supposedly from my bank and from banks with whom I do not do business, warning me that my account has been frozen due to unusual activity and directing me to a link or website to reset/cure/deal with the problem.

RIGHT! 

Jun 09, 2021 05:48 PM
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

long time ago I actually did give info because the email from ebay looked so legit. Had to close my account and credit card to fix it. Boy did I feel dumb after that.

Jun 12, 2021 04:07 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great information.  Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day!

Jun 13, 2021 07:15 AM