Forward suspicious e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phishing is a form of online scamming using fake e-mails, websites or messages. How can you identify those fake e-mails and how can you distinguish them from real messages? Smart cybercriminals can really make you doubt. Here are a number of tips to help you assess whether or not you can trust a message.
The basic rule
Cyber criminals always try to abuse something you believe in or someone you trust. They also often try to use fear to achieve their ends. Do not get tricked!
Did you get a suspicious e-mail or phone call? Then answer these questions:
- Is it unexpected?
You received a message for no reason: you did not buy anything, have not had contact with them for a long time, etc. Investigate further.
- Is it urgent?
Stay calm: did you really get a first reminder to pay? Do you know that 'friend in need'?
- Do you know the person who sent the e-mail?
Check the e-mail address, and also check for spelling errors. However, beware: a legitimate e-mail address is no guarantee.
- Do you find the request strange?
An official body will never ask you for your password, bank details or personal details via e-mail, SMS or over the telephone.
- Where does the link you need to click on lead to?
Hover over the link with your mouse. Is the domain name, the word before “.be”, “.com”, “.eu”, “.org”, etc. and before the very first slash "/", really the organization’s name?
- For the link www.safeonweb.be/tips, the domain is safeonweb.
- For the link www.safeonweb.tips.be/safeonweb, 'tips' is the domain and you are redirected to another website.
- Is there a QR code in the message?
If a QR code is shown, check carefully which website it refers to. When you scan the code, you will see the url. Check the domain as described above.
- Are you being personally addressed?
Be wary of messages using general and vague titles, or your e-mail address to address you.
- Does the message contain many linguistic errors?
Although seasoned cybercriminals tend to use language correctly, language errors or a foreign language can indicate a suspicious message.
- Is the message in your Spam / Junk folder?
If so, be extra careful. You can also mark suspicious messages as Spam or Junk to warn others.
- Is someone trying to make you curious?
Everyone would be curious about messages with a link reading "Look what I read about you ..." or "Are you in this picture?", but do not be tricked.
- Are you asked to make a payment?
If you are asked to make a payment that you are not expecting, always be careful. Is the account number the same number you usually use to pay that institution or person? If not, do not make the payment. Often phishing emails use foreign account numbers or ask to make payments through a crypto wallet. This is suspicious. If you are in doubt about a payment, check with your bank first, or with the institution claiming the payment.
In short, it is better to exercise caution. If you have the slightest doubt about a message, do not open any links or attachments and contact the sender in a different way:
- You can call or text friends, or send them a message via social media. If the message did not come from them, let them know that their account has been hacked. Some social networks let you mark messages as 'fake'.
- In the case of organizations or companies, you can visit their website and check whether that 'urgent' promotion actually exists. If you do not find any information about the alleged promotion, you can also call them on the telephone.
Discover how easily you can be tricked by cyber criminals with our phishing test. Not only will you learn to reliably identify Internet fraud, we will also provide you with even more practical tips to help you avoid being tricked by a phishing scam.
Can you recognize fake text messages? Take the test!
Scammers are increasingly resorting to fake text messages.
- Forward it to email@example.com.
- Do not click on the links, but search for the website via a search engine.
- Do not forward it to your contacts.
- Never fill in personal information.
- You can also forward it to the organisation itself.
- Warn your friends that you have forwarded them a false message.
- If you have passed on a password that you use in other places, change it immediately.
- If you have provided your credit card details, notify Card Stop immediately on 078 170 170 (+32 78 170 170 from abroad).