Checking Links in Spammy Emails

Posted by Emil Ahangarzadeh on 4/11/2016

We get this question all of the time--“How do I know if it’s spam?” One of the clever tricks that cyber-criminals use to hack our devices and data is to disguise emails as legitimate messages. They will often embed actionable items in their messages like macro-enabled documents attached to the message that will run viruses on your local computer when opened or embedded links that seem to take you to the place online that you want to go but actually take you to nefarious websites.


One trick to find out if the links in emails (or websites, for that matter) are legit is to simply hover over the link and then look in the bottom left of your browser to see the actual URL (i.e. the Web address) that the browser will send you to. Try it out. Hover over this link that will take you to a perfectly safe place (don’t click it) and look in the lower left of your browser or your Outlook client to see where it will actually take you. In some versions of Outlook, you can just hover over the link and a context pop-up window will tell you the address the link is connected to. Often, you can see that the URL the link is being directed to is phishy (pardon the pun).


Alternatively, you can right click on a link and select 'copy link location'.  Then, visit and paste the link in their search field to see if there have been any reported phishing scams associated with the link.  Remember, RIGHT CLICK (not left).


The best advice is that if it smells like, phish, it's probably phish.  So--WHEN IN DOUBT, GET IT OUT! Delete ASAP.