During a recent video panel discussion of IT company owners from throughout the country, panelists, including Ryan Haislar, President of Computerease, fielded the following question from the audience:

“I see an increase spam. How can I verify that an email is real and why is my spam filter not catching the obvious spam emails?”

You can watch this section of the video:

And check out the full video of the panel discussion here: Click here

Here’s a summary of the main highlights of the panelists’ answers to the question; “I see an increase spam. How can I verify that an email is real and why is my spam filter not catching the obvious spam emails?”

When the COVID-19 outbreak first started happening, we heard from our IT support clients that they received an overabundance of  COVID-19 messages. And, a lot of SPAM emails were getting through SPAM filters. A lot of these emails really shouldn’t have gotten through.

What we’ve been seeing across the board over past few weeks is that a lot more of these SPAM COVID-19 emails are getting blocked because the various SPAM filters are learning to recognize the signs of these novel SPAM emails.

Even though more SPAM emails are getting caught by SPAM filters, cyber-attackers are still targeting everyone during these unprecedented times. We all need to be hyper-vigilant to spot these malicious emails.

Going Back To The Basics With How To Identify SPAM

  1. Take a close look at the sender and the display name.
  2. Does the name match who it looks like is sending the email? Look for the red flags.
  3. Are they trying to urge you to do something right away?
  4. Are they asking for money?
  5. Is it wire transfer?
  6. Can you do a two-factor test by calling the person instead of just replying to the email?

You need to be vigilant because people are trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 situation.

In general, take a zero-trust approach to every email. Don’t trust anything. If there is a link of file attached, make sure you do confirm before you take any action at all.

Be especially wary of emails that convey a sense of urgency - this is always like a dead giveaway of a scam. Anytime it’s something you HAVE to do right now, otherwise something really bad is going to happen. That is the number one giveaway that you need to stay away.

Here’s a real-life example from one of the panelists.

“Yesterday I received an email from a vendor with a new billing portal with a link to click. I called that vendor and said, ‘What’s going on with this link I received in an email?’ They did acknowledge that it was a legitimate link that they had sent out.

When you’re trying to check the legitimacy of an email, make sure to verify outside of that email message. Don’t call the phone number in the email. Don’t visit the website in the email. Call a known phone number for that vendor/contact or do a Google search. Something that isn’t tied to that email!”

Have you noticed an increase in SPAM? Do you have a SPAM filter in place? In either case, please make sure to be extremely cautious when going through your emails!

As a fellow small business owner, I want to help your business survive and plan to recover during today’s unique environment. If you IT team need extra hands right now…or solutions to help your employees work SECURELY from home…we have software tools, expert staff and resources we’d like to offer you to keep your business as productive as possible.

Fill out the form on the right to book a quick 10- to 15-minute call to discuss this important topic. Or, call my office at (314) 432-1661 (MO) or (618) 346-8324 (IL).  Please know that this is not a sales call but simply an outreach to help a fellow CEO stay afloat.