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Five ways to tell if a business email is real

Every business receives dozens, if not hundreds of spam messages per day. Most will have been filtered out by your email server and you’ll never see them. Those that get through may be captured by any spam products you might use or antivirus depending on how you have things set up. Of those that get through, you should perform some basic checks to make sure they are real if you don’t recognize the sender.

There are five simple ways to tell if a business email is real or whether it’s spam, phishing or something worse.

Is that business email real?

Here are some simple checks you and your staff should make every time you receive an email from a sender you don’t know. They take a few seconds and could mean the difference between wasting time or money and staying safe.

Check the sender address

Depending on your email client, you may be able to hover over the sender’s email address or it may be shown in plain text. If the address doesn’t match the signature, there may be something amiss.

Check the links before clicking them

You should never click links in emails from people you don’t recognize but there is an easy way to check. Hover your cursor over the link and see if the address that appears is the same as what the URL says. If it is something completely different, it’s likely a fake.

Check spelling and language

While appreciating that different people have different standards of spelling, obvious spelling mistakes or odd phrases should set alarm bells ringing. Most spammers are not English and will often use poorly translated emails.

Do they ask odd questions

If an email begins with ‘Hi, how are you’, it could be a fake. Americans don’t tend to begin their emails like that and certainly not business emails. If the email asks you if you’re in work today, willing to add a new payee to your accounts or something that doesn’t feel right, be mindful.

Trust your gut

If the email doesn’t feel right but you have no evidence that it isn’t, err on the side of caution. You could follow up by looking up the person separately via their company website and email them directly or you could ignore the email. If it’s important, they will message back.

These five ways on their own will not protect your business from email threats but they can work with your technical protections to help keep you and your business secure.

New Jersey Computer Help can help secure your email from the worst threats out there. Contact us to learn how!

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