Dear Mr. Market:
This isn’t the type of letter we like to write you. Our brief note today will not center around anything of stock market or economic interest. Mr. Market dupes people with his manic, unpredictable, and volatile ways but one thing that we can guard ourselves from is the ever growing threat of phishing.
What exactly is “phishing”?
Phishing is when fraudsters send fake emails and texts appearing to be from a trustworthy source, hoping that you will click on a link or download an attachment. Their goal is to trick you into inputting and capturing your sensitive information. You may already be up to snuff on the following tips but they are worth repeating since fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated:
- Do not click on links or attachments included in unknown or suspicious emails, and be on heightened alert for emails with Office, zip, and other common attachments
- Look for clues within the text of emails that may indicate they were sent by bad actors. These include errors in grammar, capitalization, or spelling
- Hover over links to reveal the website’s URL to see where the link really leads. Do not click on the link if the destination is not what you would expect to see
- Check the sender’s domain in the email address (for example, the “abc.com” in the address firstname.lastname@example.org) to see if it matches what you would expect to see
Here’s a real example of some very well put together emails to investment clients appearing to come from Charles Schwab. (click on the picture below to enlarge)
With the amount of emails we all get it’s hard to blame someone for quickly clicking on these and assuming they’re legitimate. The example above is truly well done ; all the way from the Schwab logo to the company color branding, usual communication style format etc. It’s not only investment firms we’re seeing this from. Be on the lookout for phishing attempts from common vendors we all use such as FedEx, Amazon, or even your local grocery store.
If you’re already on top of this stuff…great, but it never hurts to be reminded and to stay ultra diligent. If you think this could help someone else who perhaps is at risk for being caught by one of these scams or phishing expeditions….please share it with them now.