Is that Email a phishing scheme?


Research has revealed that over half of all users end up opening fraudulent emails and often even fall for them. Phishing is done with the aim of gathering personal information about you, generally related to your finances. The most common reason for the large number of people falling for fraudulent emails is that the phishing attempts are often so well-disguised that they escape the eyes of a busy email reader. Here are a few tips that help you identify whether that email really came from your bank or is another attempt at defrauding you…

1. They are asking for personal information - Remember, no bank or financial institution asks you to share your key personal information via email, or even phone. So, if you get an email where they ask for your ATM PIN or your e-banking password, something’s amiss.

2. The links seem to be fake - Phishing emails always contain links that you are asked to click on. You should verify if the links are genuine. Here are a few things to look for when doing that:

  • Spelling - Check for the misspellings in the URL. For example, if your bank’s web address is, a phishing scheme email could misspell it as or
  • Disguised URLs - Sometimes, URLs can be disguised…meaning, while they look genuine, they ultimately redirect you to some fraudulent site. You can recognize the actual URL upon a mouseover, or by right clicking on the URL, and selecting the ‘copy hyperlink’ option and pasting the hyperlink on a notepad file. But, NEVER ever, paste the hyperlink directly into your web browser.
  • URLs with ‘@’ signs - If you find a URL that has an ‘@’ sign, steer clear of it even if it seems genuine. Browsers ignore URL information that precedes @ sign. That means, the URL will take you to and not to any Bank of America page.

3. Other tell-tale signs - Apart from identifying fake URLs, there are other tell-tale signs that help you identify fraudulent emails. Some of these include:

  • Emails where the main message is in the form of an image, which, upon opening, takes you to the malicious URL.
  • Another sign is an attachment. Never open attachments from unknown sources as they may contain viruses that can harm your computer and network.
  • The message seems to urge you to do something immediately. Scammers often induce a sense of urgency in their emails and threaten you with consequences if you don’t respond. For example, threat of bank account closure if you don’t verify your ATM PIN or e-banking password.

Finally, get a good anti virus/email protection program installed. It can help you by automatically directing spam and junk mail into spam folders and deactivating malicious attachments.

The email spam filter and you : A brief guide


New data from security firm Symantec has shown email spam to reach an all-new 12-year low as hackers and cyber attackers turn away from it. Falling below the 50% mark, the amount of spam emails sent in the first quarter of 2015 is on the same level as it was in 2003, which means although your spam filter might be working well, you simply may be receiving less than you previously were. What does all of this mean?

Well, while spam may be frustrating and unwanted, when clicked on, spam has an ability to generate money or attach malware onto your computer. The drop in sent spam suggests cyberattacks are currently adapting and refocusing their efforts on new ways to generate money. Malware attacks, ransomware, and crypto-ransomware are undoubtedly on the rise and may represent a new era in cybercrime.

Unfortunately, the same spam filters that prevents spam from cyber criminals may also be blocking emails that you might find important. Publicists, marketers, salespeople and other professionals whose jobs rely on emailing might find their work futile if their spam gets stuck in a folder with all the malware that the filter thinks it’s a part of. If your job relies on emailing, we’ve created a list of obvious words and phrases not to use when you want to ensure that your message gets to the right person.

Obvious words and phrases that set off spam filters

·         Cash

·         Money

·         Reduce debt

·         Home mortgage

·         Problem with shipping

·         Problem with your order

·         Cialis, Viagra, etc.

·         Cheap meds

·         Weight loss

·         As seen on Oprah

·         Replica watches

·         Gift card

·         Diet

·         Millions

·         Earn your degree

·         Bad credit

·         Easy income

·         Work from home

·         Lottery

·         Pay your bills

·         Free laptop/iPad

·         Job alert

·         Foreclosure

·         Bankruptcy

·         Timeshare

·         Take our survey

·         Discount coupon

·         Store credit

·         Huge deals

·         Free download

·         Discount shipping

·         Huge sale

·         % off

·         Holiday savings

·         Free gift

·         Free shipping

·         Regarding your order


Spam filters block more than just keywords, though. They seek out and dismiss emails containing symbols, words in all caps, and language that appears urgent. Ensuring that your email comes across non-“spammy” is a good step in making sure it gets to the right place. At Prototype IT, we offer spam filter support to prevent you from receiving spam before it even gets to you. Read more here!