Phishing scams are emails that are made to look legitimate - but - they aren't. The emails use the same logos, colors, etc. as your bank, your favorite airline, Ebay, PayPal, Amazon, FedEx ….. anybody and everybody.
Five Ways to Tell if it is a Spam Email
Email is in Your Spam or Junk Folder
You can be pretty sure that all the emails you need will appear in your inbox. Sometimes legitimate emails can end up in your spam folder (if you haven’t set them up as contacts yet). You must deal with those on a case-by-case basis to determine whether or not they are legitimate.
Email Address From Free Email Service
Legitimate companies send emails through a server based out of their company website (for example, (firstname.lastname@example.org) If you see a long string of numbers in front of the @ sign or the name of a free email service before the .com (or any other domain), you need to question the legitimacy of the email received.
Content Seeks Urgent Attention
Keep an eye out for emails that say you need to do something right away or within a certain number of hours. Also, be wary of any emails that include links. Most companies tell you what to do, but they won't direct you to where to do it with a link. Finally, rampant grammatical and spelling errors within the body of an email are good signs that it is spam. Spammers don’t care enough about the actual messages they are sending to take the time to ensure they make sense.
Content Seeks Personal Information
Most institutions you deal with come right out and say they are never going to ask for personal information in an email. They don’t need to ask you for your personal information because they usually have it on hand. If you get an email that asks you for any personal information, no matter how legitimate it might seem, delete it right away. Personal information is only meant to be entered in secure, encrypted forms, not emails where anyone and everyone can get their hands on your information.
When you receive a genuine email, the sender addresses you directly, using either your first or last name. If you receive an email where they refer to you as a “Valued Customer” or as a member of some company, it is spam. Senders of your genuine emails want to get your attention, so they address you directly. Also, most organizations encourage you to forward the “spam” email to them so that they can investigate and work on getting that site shut down. For example, if you receive a Chase Bank or Bank of America spam email, you would forward that email to Chase Abuse or Bank of America Abuse.