In a phishing scam, attackers might use email, SMS, phone calls or instant messaging to trick their victims into providing information or to follow a malicious URL usually by pretending to be a trusted organisation or someone from within the victim’s own company.

The first time the term ‘phishing’ was recorded was January 2nd 1996. Statistics show that phishing scams show no signs of slowing down, in 2017 48.2% of phishing emails were opened by their recipients, that’s an increase of 12% on 2016. Do you know the signs to look out for, to spot a potential phishing scam?

1. An implied sense of urgency

You might find it subtly suggested or aggressively worded, either way, phishing emails usually request something urgent from the receiver. Be wary of any emails you receive from a member of your company or a trusted organisation that demand you send them sensitive data or follow a link immediately.

2. A public email address

In many phishing scams, you’ll find the sender is pretending to be a member of your company in order to gain sensitive information. If this is the case, check the email address, is it from a company email account or a public address such as Gmail or Hotmail? If you’re unsure whether the email is genuine, contact the supposed sender directly, via a trusted email address or telephone number.

3. Spelling and grammar errors

An obvious sign of a phishing email is poor spelling and grammar. It might be that you spot some obvious errors or that the email is simply written in a strange way.

 4. Links to unfamiliar sites

Phishing emails will often invite you to click on a link within the message. These links might appear to be for a site you recognise (such as a bank, iTunes or Paypal) but actually take you somewhere completely different, that could be very dangerous. We’d advise you to open a new window and type in the address rather than following the link in the email to avoid scams.

 5. Bizarre attachments

Cybercriminals who send phishing emails want you to click on the email attachments. Be cautious of any attachments that look different from usual and definitely don’t click on the attachment if you’ve spotted any of the above signs in the email. The attachments might contain malware that could potentially harm your computer and harvest your sensitive data.


Even when you know all the signs, some phishing scams can slip through the net. That’s why it’s important that you implement an effective antispam filter to protect your business from spam and hackers. MailCleaner offers professional protection from viruses and eliminates up to 99%. The antispam gateway will detect any potential phishing scams, block them from reaching your inbox and send them to a quarantined zone where they can’t cause any damage.


Get in touch today to find out more about how MailCleaner can protect your business from cybercrime.