Phish·ing

The activity of defrauding an online account holder of financial or personal information by posing as a legitimate company. Typically through the recreation of a manufacturer’s website. Phishing can be done via website, e-mails, or phone calls.

If you have ever looked through your spam folder, or perhaps your spam filter missed an e-mail here or there, you may have seen some pretty unbelievable phishing emails. They could be in the form of coupons from big name retailers. Perhaps even from Prince Habibibbi from the fourth planet of Zoltutron. There are a lot of things that you can notice if you take a little time to read the email. You may notice something a bit fishy.

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Have you ever received a threatening email? I’m not suggesting necessarily that someone threatened your life, but perhaps you got an email from someone that stated action had to be taken immediately? Perhaps even threaten that you may lose out of some kind of deal, tax loop hole, or amazing new career path. Though often times in our work places, we have items that are time sensitive, very rarely do our bosses or loved ones ever send us something that must be done immediately on some 3rd party website with out some kind of previous mention.

In the image gallery you can see a couple of possibilities. The names of the senders look real. The attachment title lines up with the topics in the email’s subject and body. In the transaction declined image, chances are pretty high that you purchased something yesterday. It could cause you to second guess that your purchase went through, but some strange person with out any affiliation to your bank or credit card company should not be contacting you about it. This is a red flag! Do not open the attachment!

The first thing you should always do, is stop and take a breather. Read through the email with eyes of scrutiny, because unfortunately on the internet, nothing is what it seems. If it is an unexpected email, you should always verify the sender, and verify the link by hovering your mouse over them. If you happen to click a link with out verifying its location, do not put in any of your personal information.

When stopping to take a deeper look at these examples, many things tend to make you ask questions.

In the “CVS” coupon there were a couple of things that stood out. You can always cross reference the provided addresses to see if they line up with company headquarters. This “coupon” had two different addresses on the bottom. This causes me pause initially. It is even worse to see that the “rewards coupon” has no affiliation with the company it is pretending to be. If you manage to go through and do the survey, there is a whole host of “rewards” that you can claim. Things from wrinkle cream to hair regrowing miracle juice, and teeth whitening products to bedroom male enhancement. None of them CVS related and none of them providing the “reward” initially promised. All of this effort just to get your credit card number.

Remember that they are trying to get your information by posing as a legitimate company! This is a prime example. They are not lying and they give you details that make it look like it is the real thing.

When we see who “Kohl’s” really is, it should makes us far less likely to click to claim our reward. Another thing that we can look at, is how frequently we were sent the same “reward”. In this case, it was a bit too frequent.

The major things that you should be on the look out for are: threats, misspellings, popular companies, links, and attachments!

One click can put you into a serious world of hurt. Whether it is credit card fraud, stolen identity, currency schemes, investment schemes, or even being contacted by the “IRS” or “FBI”. Your government will not send or ask for your personal information over the internet with out some kind of previous communication.

The examples shown today are extreme and a bit on the obvious side. However, they can get you if you aren’t diligent or they happen to slide through your spam filter.

Unfortunately you can receive phone calls that are phishing scams as well. With more and more phone calls being made by robots and prerecorded statements/responses, you should be skeptical of all unsolicited phone calls. Cyber criminals are coming at you from every direction that they can. Regardless of whether you are a big business, or a single person with an email address and cellphone, they cast a wide net even if they only catch a few poor souls. You are never too big or too small to catch someone’s attention.

For cyber training or questions please don’t hesitate to call us, we are here for all of your computer related needs! Above all else, be safe out there!