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Why You Should Exercise Caution When Opening Emails

Even with the help of your junk folder, it can be hard to recognize malicious emails. Find out how to protect yourself from fraudsters.

In some cases, you can pick up a virus simply by opening a malicious email. So, it’s best to recognize hackers before this ever happens. There are methods you can use to distinguish scam emails from others.

If an email tries to sell or gift you something and it seems too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true. For instance, if you are offered a cruise in the Bahamas for $20 and you need to enter your credit card information, that is an obvious red flag. However, phishers and fraudsters have also found ways to seem convincingly legitimate. Take these steps below before opening an unrecognized email.

Read More: How to Maintain Security on Your Android Phone

Check for a salutation, as phishers will often times address you as “valued customer.”

This is an impersonal salutation. Any legitimate business will use your name in the introduction. While this certainly isn’t a litmus test for fraudulent emails, it is a good place to start.

Be cautious if you see an email that asks for personal information.

Whether it’s a bank or a firm, businesses almost never ask for personal information over your email. Exercise caution when you see an email that mentions handing over credit card or banking information.

Look for urgent or threatening subject lines

Examples include “Click here NOW for a sweet deal,” “Your account will be terminated,” or “You will be arrested if…” If there seems to be a sense of urgency within the subject line, exercise caution in opening it.

Look out for clickbait…don’t bite!

Phishers always think of clever subject lines to try and get you to open the email. If the subject line seems like an incredibly good lead to an interesting story, then it is likely a scam. You see these all the time on social media. Examples include “A man was walking down the beach. You won’t believe what happened to him next!” Clicking on clickbait oftentimes results in malware and hacked accounts.

Keep an eye out for spelling mistakes

While fraudsters are computer savvy, computer users oftentimes find that their grammar doesn’t live up to their technological knowledge. Poor grammar and typos are a red flag for malicious emails.

Don’t click on any attachments

Finally, if you do end up opening a malicious email, be sure not to open any attachments. Many are plagued with malware that can badly infect your device. Assess the legitimacy of the sender prior to opening any of these attachments.

Worried about hackers accessing your computer or phone?

Head to and check out how to keep your devices safe and malware free!