1. Suspicious Sender Address
Before you click on any links or download any attachments, inspect the sender’s email address closely. Often, phishing emails come from addresses that look similar to legitimate ones but have slight alterations. For instance, instead of receiving an email from “firstname.lastname@example.org” it might be from “email@example.com”
2. Grammar and Spelling Errors
Professional organizations will generally send emails that are well-composed and free of errors. If you receive an email riddled with poor grammar, odd phrasing, or spelling mistakes, it’s a red flag. For instance, “We need payment detail for your last services” should immediately arouse suspicion.
3. Generic Greetings and Signoffs
Phishers often send emails in bulk, aiming to cast a wide net. Therefore, they might use generic greetings like “Dear Customer” or “Dear User.” A genuine email from a veterinary association, supplier, or service provider you’re associated with would typically address you by your name or your clinic’s name.
4. Urgent and Threatening Language
Phishers know that inducing panic can lead to hasty decisions. Emails that use urgent language like “Immediate action required!” or threats like “Your account will be suspended!” are common tactics. While genuine communications might occasionally require prompt attention, they’re unlikely to use alarming tones or threats to get your compliance.
5. Request for Sensitive Information
Be wary of any email that requests sensitive information, especially if it asks for it directly within the email or through a linked page. Whether it’s login credentials, payment details, or patient information, always verify through alternative means. Instead of clicking on the provided link, visit the official website directly or call the supposed sender to confirm the request’s legitimacy.
Hover Over Links – Before clicking on any links in an email, hover your cursor over them. This will show you the actual URL the link directs to. If it looks suspicious or doesn’t match the purported sender’s official website, avoid it.