This is part 3 of our ‘Safety First’ articles and it’s about spam/phishing emails, and other nasty things in your inbox.

You get lots of spam into your inbox everyday, we all do – it’s difficult for the spam filtering programs to keep up with the spammers so some spam will always make it through.  A lot of this spam is harmless and can be read safely and you won’t end up with a nasty infection, it’s just plain annoying.

There is however another level of spam that is much more harmful – phishing or malware/virus laden emails. These pesky little emails are out to do your computer harm.  Phishing emails are after your personal data, like login details, to be used for nefarious purposes! Malware/Virus emails have a nasty little habit of infecting your computer with things you want to avoid.  You need to be able to spot these and make sure you don’t click on the links or attachments they come with.

Spotting a Phishing email is getting harder, especially when they spoof the branding of the company the email is supposedly from.

There are tell tale signs the mail isn’t right though.  Is the mail addressed to you personally? Or is it ‘dear customer’ or ‘dear’ – this is a sure sign it’s phishing – trust me, your bank knows your name!

Poor grammar and poor spelling are normally a good giveaway too along with incongruous text that seems totally out of place.

So far this month Barclays have transferred a few million into or out of my account, I can’t tell from the emails! DHL have several parcels they can’t deliver. Various companies have placed an order with me – ‘see the purchase order attached’.  My Anti Virus picked all the nasty viruses and malware in everyone of these and removed them but some can slip through so be on your guard.

Spam has spread to Text messages, Instagram Messages and Messenger messages too now. Again look carefully at the message. If it seems too good to be true, out of place or out of character don’t open it and don’t click on any links.

We have seen some very convincing messages lately. The only giveaway, particularly in the Text messages, was the web address (URL) and you had to look VERY carefully to even see those. 

A general rule of thumb is ‘don’t click on it’.  If the email looks like it is from a friend and you think the attachment/link is genuine but you can’t be 100% sure then go back to the sender and confirm – they won’t mind.

We hope you are enjoying our little series of posts. Next time we will bring you part four of our Safety First series, this time about staying safe on Social Media.