Social engineering is a threat not just to normal everyday people, but businesses as well. Emails can contain dangerous phishing schemes that seem legitimate at the time, but can actually do some lasting damage. How can you spot these before they become a problem? This article will give you a rundown of what to look out for and why it’s a big deal that you watch out for these emails.

A Nigerian prince has lost his fortune and needs your help. You’ve just won the Pakistan lottery. Enter your credit card information here before the card expires prematurely. Some of you may recognize what these are. Blatant phishing schemes as old as email itself. Social engineering is a cyber scam meant to steal something of value from you through your own good will. Who wouldn’t help a stranger in need or jump at the chance for free money? Be very wary. Phishing is an easy way to get payment methods from you or loved ones by kindly worded emails or enticing messages. A rule of thumb is; if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Never take anything you see on the internet at face value, even the advice in this article. Study as much as you can on the matter so you are always fully prepared, don’t just take my word for it.

There are a few very telling signs that, unless you can verify them, are dead giveaways for phishing attempts. If there are rampant grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, it isn’t because they aren’t that good at using the English language. These are intentionally put in make you sympathize with the writer or seem more “genuine”. The grammatical errors should tip you off right away, but maybe they’re well written. If that’s the case, watch for threatening language or fantastic offers. If your credit card is getting shut down, you would know through more than just a poorly worded email. If so and so really wanted to offer you a job, they would contact you on the phone. If it seems dangerous to your wallet it isn’t worth risking the click. Delete it immediately. If it asks for money or a random change of passwords, you should be on guard. Nobody asks for money unless they are phishing for suckers, and you’re smarter than that. Passwords need only be reset for accounts that have been hacked or if the system requires a password change every few months or so. If the change is asked off schedule or out of the blue, you should probably look into account safety.

Many HIPAA violations occur due to social engineering tricking decent people into giving out personal information. Be better than the criminals out there and stay cautious of everything.