In a world of technology and masking… anyone can appear to be something they aren’t because heck, we can just copy, clone or duplicate things that are already out there. For example, the Facebook profile cloning that people panic that someone has hacked their Facebook account which just isn’t true. Now, there isn’t a problem with changing your password, but I could duplicate your Facebook profile right this second if I wanted to.. and friend request all of your friends. It happens, people fall for it.. but I think more and more folks are seeing and hearing it and taking those extra precautions before accepting the requests. This blog, isn’t about that, but you can read more on that Facebook Clone/Hacker blog here. 😉
This blog is more on the email scam crap we all get and it’s along the same lines. Folks are out there cloning our email addresses or rather attaching code to our emails so when we open the email or download that link that emails get sent to our friends. It wasn’t that someone actually hacked into MY email account (though it is possible) but that they placed code into something that was opened or downloaded or stupid stuff like that. Think Trojan Horse.
You already know what junk mail looks like
Now, I know you know what junk email looks like.. you know the dating ones, the ones trying to enlarge your….. ummmm mind, the ones saying that you inherited millions of dollars and etc. Sure, you don’t fall for those, I know you are too smart and you likely don’t go clicking around in them. But it’s the ones that actually LOOK like they could be legit.
Let’s talk about the ‘legit looking’ scams
If it looks like a duck it must be a duck, right? Wrong! Have you gotten emails that are similar to this:
- emails from the “Email Administrator” telling you that your mailbox is almost full?
- emails from friends who send you a link that “you might appreciate”?
- emails from “your bank” saying that your account has irregular activity?
- emails from “your credit card company” asking you to reset your password, update your security, or verify a charge?
Agghhhhh, it’s so confusing and so frustrating. That IS the bank that I bank with and I do have that type of credit card and my email account is with Yahoo. How did they know? The title of this email eludes to “Phishing”. Well, what is that?
What is Phishing?
Phishing, via Wikipedia is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
3 Tips on what to do that does NOT compromise your security
- Hover over the email address or the link (DO NOT CLICK IT!) and see where you are being redirected to or who sent the email as it isn’t always who it says it is
- Take note of who sent it (credit card company, email provider or bank) and login into your account from your browser (NOT from within the email) and check your messages/notifications there and for that friend, create your own email and ask them if they sent you something to check out.
- Use common sense. Know how your bank, credit card, friends communicate with you. Are there tons of typos and crappy fonts? Does it make sense? When in doubt – go to #2.
Here are some Phishing / Scam examples
Thought I would share a few samples (these are real, as these were sent to me) so you can see a little about what I mean, but seriously, you know you’ve seen this stuff before and can pick it out… just trying to help some of the non-tech savvy folks out there.
Email from friends who send you a link that “you might appreciate”
This one you are likely more used to. The Phishing part is more from a trusted source and trying to get you to click through to a link. This type is pretty typical and I don’t even bother emailing my friend because notice the email address in the From line.. not even from Jackie!
This one is a little more tricky because you may be banking with this company and it LOOKS a lot like the logo and the look of a legit email. Going back to my 3 tips, hover over the “Get Started” link and then notice the email address. Again, it’s not from Bank of America. Note the verbiage about the Get Started button – it says “Click on the Get start icon”. That whole sentence sounds weird, improper grammar and well, the link wasn’t to Bank of America. So, what I did was opened up a new browser window and to BofA directly. Nope, nothing!
Email from “your credit card company” to verify something
You should be getting the hang of this one now. The verbiage is super weird. While yes, I am esteemed, but my bank has never said that. And if you read the rest of it.. pffff, who says that? Likely someone who is trying to speak like a native English speaker and doesn’t. Last Notice? How about first notice and check out that From and To line? Doesn’t that reek of BS’ness? lol
Email from the “Email Administrator” telling you that your mailbox is almost full
This one was a little harder to tell as all links (that I didn’t click on but hovered over) were more like a funnel or email system but 2 things… 1 – my AVB email is through a hosting that is not Google, so the verbiage at the bottom (below the Thanks part) was more for a gmail account holder and 2 – I logged into my email hosting company and didn’t have this issue. BOOM!
So, a few words to the wise… when in doubt, delete and don’t click. Go DIRECTLY to the source and just use some good old common sense.
Hopefully this has been helpful to you. If it has, please share this with your friends and family so they won’t be fooled next time. Should you have any additional tips to help us all, please share in the comments below.