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How to recognize phishing email messages, links, or phone calls

Here is a recent Microsoft post talking about how to recognize phishing email messages, links, or phone calls

Phishing email messages, websites, and phone calls are designed to steal money. Cybercriminals can do this by installing malicious software on your computer or stealing personal information off of your computer.

Cybercriminals also use social engineering to convince you to install malicious software or hand over your personal information under false pretenses. They might email you, call you on the phone, or convince you to download something off of a website.

What does a phishing email message look like?

Here is an example of what a phishing scam in an email message might look like.

Local Network security support for small and medium size businessesSpelling and bad grammar. Cybercriminals are not known for their grammar and spelling. Professional companies or organizations usually have a staff of copy editors that will not allow a mass email like this to go out to its users. If you notice mistakes in an email, it might be a scam. For more information, see Email and web scams: How to help protect yourself.

Beware of phishing scams and email linksBeware of links in email.If you see a link in a suspicious email message, don’t click on it. Rest your mouse (but don’t click) on the link to see if the address matches the link that was typed in the message. In the example below the link reveals the real web address, as shown in the box with the yellow background. The string of cryptic numbers looks nothing like the company’s web address.

Network support for Southern CA businessesLinks might also lead you to .exe files. These kinds of file are known to spread malicious software.


Network security against phishing emailsThreats.
Have you ever received a threat that your Hotmail account would be closed if you didn’t respond to an email message? The email message shown above is an example of the same trick. Cybercriminals often use threats that your security has been compromised. For more information, see Watch out for fake alerts.

Email support and security for small and medium size businessesSpoofing popular websites or companies. Scam artists use graphics in email that appear to be connected to legitimate websites but actually take you to phony scam sites or legitimate-looking pop-up windows. For more information, see Avoid scams that use the Microsoft name fraudulently.Cybercriminals also use web addresses that resemble the names of well-known companies but are slightly altered. For more information, see Protect yourself from cybersquatting and fake web addresses.

Beware of phishing phone calls

Cybercriminals might call you on the phone and offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.

Once they’ve gained your trust, cybercriminals might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable.

Treat all unsolicited phone calls with skepticism. Do not provide any personal information.

For more information, see Avoid tech support phone scams.

Report phishing scams

If you receive a fake phone call, take down the caller’s information and report it to your local authorities.

You can use Microsoft tools to report a suspected scam on the web or in email.

Network tech tips and support for small and medium size businessesInternet Explorer. While you are on a suspicious site, click the gear icon and then point to Safety. Then click Report Unsafe Website and use the web page that is displayed to report the website.
Computer support for So Cal officesHotmail.
If you receive a suspicious email message that asks for personal information, click the check box next to the message in your Hotmail inbox. Click Mark as and then point to Phishing scam.
Local Network security support for small and medium size businessesMicrosoft Office Outlook.
Attach the suspicious email message to a new email message and forward it to reportphishing@antiphishing.org. To learn how to attach an email message to an email message, see Attach a file or other item to an email message.

You can also download the Microsoft Junk E-mail Reporting Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook.

About Advanced Network Consulting:

ANC is a full service computer consulting company providing cabling, office moves, network security and connectivity, server installs and upgrades throughout Southern California.  We also assist In-House IT Staff with complex installations, upgrades, and maintenance.  One highlight of our business is meeting with business owners to plan, strategize, and implement an infrastructure for a new venture.  With our many connections, establishing a new business is as simple as a phone call. We coordinate with the contractor, electricians, phones service provider, printer, web developer and host, and any other vendors involved when establishing a business.  We’ll take you from an empty shell of a building to a secure network and fully functioning office.  For a complimentary design meeting, call 562.903.3992.  Let’s get your business fully operational.