I recently worked on an email phishing tip sheet for a client. As I read through the document, I was applauding myself for following all the best practices to avoid scams. But in the last two weeks, I’ve been a recipient of some pretty darn good-looking frauds. Emails that gave me – a gal who’s been in the marketing business for about 175 years (give or take) – pause for consideration.
For starters, they were from some legit companies – Amazon and Apple – and they looked it. Right logo, good subject lines, copy that sounded like it could be for real. I had to think about them pretty carefully before I deleted them. But if I’m having to work that hard, I can only imagine how easy it is for them to snare someone who doesn’t think about marketing all day long.
Before you’re tempted to click on something, read it through thoroughly with these thoughts in mind:
- Are there any spelling or grammatical errors? Keep in mind, they could be very subtle. The “Apple” email was flawless and I had to look closely to find one in “Amazon’s”. It was as simple as “We contact you regarding this issue because…” If it isn’t perfect – it’s probably not real.
- Who’s it from? If the email is from something like “info@6748_security.sketchy”, delete it. The email should be from the company’s domain and clearly be recognized as such.
- Is it a typical communication from this company? The Apple email was asking for confirmation of purchases I’d made through the App store – for some pretty big ticket items. First, I reviewed my credit card and checking account history to see if any charges were showing up. And then, it occurred to me…Apple NEVER sends me emails to confirm my purchases. Something was up.
- What is it asking you to do? Most companies are not going to ask you for personal or account information through email. Best course of action – call them or go to their website and locate the “contact us” section and send them a note to verify.
If you’re questioning something, give it a quick Google. Odds are, you’re not the first person who’s ever received it. And there’s probably information out there regarding the scam. For more information on how to protect yourself from phishing attacks, check out this info from the FTC.