As many of us are now online and on several devices at home much more than usual these days, it’s important we remember how to spot digital phishing scams so that we can protect ourselves and not fall victim to them.
Recently, some individuals let me know that they received odd-sounding emails from what initially looked like me — I want to thank all of those who did, for being suspicious and reporting it.
These emails are tricky to detect because the attacker uses subtle language changes in an effort to elude email filters to engage in conversation with their target audience — namely, you.
Here are some quick giveaways that can help you realize the email is a phishing attempt (using an example of an email that was sent out using a variation of my name):
- Email contains spelling mistakes and grammatical errors;
- Email includes extra spaces and/or misplaced punctuation; and/or
- Email contains slightly different spelling of sender’s name.
Here are some more general key tips for identifying phishing scams:
- Be skeptical of each and every message/email you receive, especially when you are busy or rushed;
- Examine the sender’s email: Does the email match the person sending you the message? Always check the email address at the top of the email matches the person sending you the message, and it’s an email you recognize;
- Examine the link: Hover over (DON’T CLICK) the link on a desktop to see the destination or hold for a few seconds on mobile (DON’T TAP);
- Be cautious on mobile devices. The small screen makes indicators hard to spot. Most emails can wait until you are on a desktop/laptop where it’s easier to take a closer look;
- Verify the sender. Even if you know the sender and something seems off, reach out to that individual using his or her telephone number or another contact method listed in your contacts; and
- Be vigilant: If you have received a phishing attempt, or suspect that you may be a target of a scam or fraud, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by telephone at 1-888-495-8501 or through their Fraud Reporting Centre. You can also report phishing to the institution that it appears to be from. For more information, please visit cyber.gc.ca/en/cyber-incidents.
— Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.
A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.
To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.
We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.
HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:
- Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 903-335-7777, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or online.
- For further COVID-19 information, including where to get tested, please visit Halton Region Public Health halton.ca/coronavirus
- Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
- Questions about the cancellation of Recreation programs can be directed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-335-7738
- City of Burlington: www.burlington.ca/coronavirus
- Resources for Residents & Non-Profit Organizations: www.burlington.ca/covid19resources.
- Halton Region: www.halton.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Canada: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: www.who.int
- Joseph Brant Hospital: josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19
- Team Burlington Business Supports: burlingtonchamber.com/team-burl-supporting-burl-business-during-covid-19/
- Burlington Food Bank: call 905-637-CARE (2273), or visit burlingtonfoodbank.ca
- Food for Life: call 905-635-1106 and press 7, or visit foodforlife.ca
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Branch: call 289-291-5396, or visit halton.cmha.ca
*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist.