Do you feel that you have been receiving an unusually large amount of spam lately?  You wouldn’t be alone - email spam, primarily phishing attacks have been on the rise. Phishing schemes are socially engineered tools that cyber criminals use to gain access to your company’s network, to personal information of your employees and/or customers or to distribute malware.

Small businesses are viewed by criminals as easy targets.  Only 14% of them report that they feel their ability to mitigate cyber risks is highly effective, which is probably the reason 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses.   As an owner or employee of a small business, you are on the front line of attacks when it comes to spam.  It is important for you to be aware of how to detect and avoid a phishing scam.

Here are some questions to ask which will help you spot a phishing email:

  • Does the email match the website domain? ( vs
  • Are there spelling mistakes, bad grammar or broad language such as “dear customer”?
  • Does the email cause you to have an emotional reaction? Many make threats like “You must act now” or “Your account will be disabled”
  • Did the email ask for confidential information, including passwords and credit card information?
  • Hover over a link to view the path, is it taking you to the website you expect? Make sure it is correct before clicking.
  • Does the company, family or friend need information or need you to act? Call and confirm before you do anything.

In the end, trust your gut, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Test your ability to spot a phishing email or website: