How to check emails with attachments

I’ve been subject to many phishing scams. But I’ve been successful at avoiding most, by following a few simple rules.  Here are some guideposts to minimizing or eliminating phishing scams, as well as malware and virus attachments.

If the operating system is found to be not gen...
If the operating system is found to be not genuine, Microsoft Security Essentials will notify the user of the issue, and will cease to operate after a period of time (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Check any links.

This is very easy to do.  You usually need to just more your browser over the link.  It should show you the “real” link.  Someone did figure out how to fool this test  As an additional test, I suggest copying the link and pasting it into a text editor.  See if the link matches the link in question.

Test attachments.

The easiest way is to use the website  Virus Total.  You just need to forward the attachment, according to the guidelines at Virus Total Attachments.  This website will also test out URL links.  I recommend it as an additional link test.

Have the WOT (i.e. Web of Trust) plug-ins installed.

All you need to do is click on a website.  If there are trust issues, you will get a warning message.  It’s good for sites that don’t follow good business practices or have a shady reputation.

 Use an antivirus.

Avast! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 This should go without saying.  If you get a free paid suite with your cable or phone company provider – by all means – take it.
  • I get Norton with Comcast.  There are free options available.
  • Avast has a good free version but I’ve read mixed reviews on it’s effectiveness.  I read that a 95 percent success rate is what you want with a real time virus screener.  But some independent test sites show rates below 95 per cent.  A friend mentioned he has much better success with the Avast paid version.
  • AVG is another good one.  But they try to up sell you to their paid version – at every chance they get.  You probably don’t want a perceptual commercial taking place.
  • Bit Defender is supposed to have the same engine in both the paid and free version. I’ve read good reviews on Avira.

Check return mail IDs

This is easy.  Suppose someone sent an invitation to connect in LinkedIn.  Type reply and see if the return address is LinkedIn dot Com or some such variation.  Also see if the the LinkedIn invitation is within LinkedIn.  If not, then this invitation is fake – period.  No one would send an invitation from a Gmail or Hotmail account.  This is from LinkedIn – who acts as the intermediary.


If you have any more rules, then by all means – follow them.  But these few should get you started.  If you like to share any here, feel free to do so.  I’m always looking for new and creative ways to stop the bad stuff.

Randy Kemp

B2B technology content marketer and writer (i.e. white papers, case studies,blog posts, articles, etc.).


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