Less than savoury characters will try and steal your banking, shopping and email passwords through so-called phishing emails. These emails disguise themselves so they appear to be from legitimate senders and often have headlines along the lines of "PayPal: we've noticed unusual activity in your PayPal account" or "Your Amazon.com order cannot be shipped". The end goal of the scammers is to get their hands on your passwords and login details. Google's Gmail app now intends to help you spot the scammers before it's too late.
Gmail for Android has finally implemented a phishing warning. Previously, email users were dependent on their own skills and abilities to distinguish legitimate from fraudulent emails, websites and downloads. The new system is designed to prevent you from opening suspicious links. Instead, a full-screen warning will be displayed.
Ironically, Google itself was the latest victim of a phishing scam. The latest email scam pretended to be a Google Doc, which then asked for your permission to read your email contacts. The scam then spread throughout your entire contact list.
(1 of 3) Official Google Statement on Phishing Email: We have taken action to protect users against an email impersonating Google Docs...— Google Docs (@googledocs) May 3, 2017
This Gmail update couldn't have come at a better time then. Interestingly enough, it turns the previous system on its head. Previously, you had to report emails as phishing scam or fraud. Now you have to identify and mark flagged emails as safe.
Especially on smartphones, it tends to be more difficult for users to distinguish a fraud attempt from a serious email. Often, only a closer look at the URL will allow you to distinguish between real and fake (though even this isn't a guarantee), which isn't always the easiest thing to do on mobile. Security apps also rarely provide adequate protection, as scammers tend to be one step ahead of security companies.
Have you fallen for a phishing email before? How do you protect yourself from scams like this?