Some phishing attempts are so crude, they're laughably obvious -- but too often, otherwise savvy consumers are getting duped by fake email messages that convincingly emulate real correspondence from financial institutions. There are some steps you can take to vet a message before getting into trouble, though. First and foremost, treat all suspicious emails as guilty until proven innocent.
Probably the best advice for avoiding trouble is to "browse to the sender's website directly." Don't click links in an email.