Category: EMAIL MARKETING

How to spot a dodgy email.

How to spot dodgy emails.

I have never thought too much about it until one of my clients forwarded me an email he had received from a person supposedly trying to steal my business. I had to look twice and realised that the entity was actually referring to an old domain my client had until it was stolen and cybersquatted.

You can view the cyber-squatted domain here: www.firstphaseelectricalwales.co.uk you will find it points to a clothing site yet again.

You can ready the whole three part cybersqualtting incident here:

Futhermore the domain supposedly changed hands in July of this year but my client is still getting emails this tells me the same entity is still using the domain name and still has my client’s data. Had the domain really have gone to a thirdparty they would not have had access to my clients data or email address. My client’s email that he received today was to his gmail email not his company email meaning how would the new owner know about my clients gmail email unless they were one and the same entity?

So when you open these emails two things that can happen if you reply to such emails they could either be malware infected and will be embed on your computer or you may get lots of spam messages whereby the sender will be then able to use your email address and spam other people.

Another way cyber criminals work is by using undisclosed email addresses this way they can send bulk emails. An undisclosed email may be used if you previously have had an email subscription and your email has be leaked or sold to a thirdparty that may then want to send out spam emails in bulk.

This goes against your privacy protection and you have to remember that email lists are worth a lot of money to some people so it stands to reason that they can be sold and misused.

How to spot a dodgy email.

This is an actual email I received to my private email account.

Apple know how to spell and they use their company name to send out information.

Check For Misspellings

The first and most obvious tip-off is misspellings. In the header above, the name of the company is spelled incorrectly, and the likelihood that a big corporation would misspell its own name is pretty unlikely.

Also look out for subdomain names such as info@subdomain.company.com No legitimate company would send out emails from their subdomain. Subdomains are the extension to a the originators website and are mainly used for blogs: https://ukdomainbrokers.ukwebsitedesigners.co.uk/

So for all intent and puposes the above is an example of my sub domain and I would not send out an email from info@ukdomainbrokers.ukwebsitedesigners.co.uk. I would however send one out from info@ukwebsitedesigners.co.uk

IP Address

Another quick trick is to look up the IP address the message came from. If it’s in a different country than the company, it’s probably fake.

Received From

The “Received” line tells you where the email originated from. If the email is actually from who it says it’s from, it would probably come from the company’s website. In the email above, the website the email came from has nothing to do with the company it says it’s from. If however the email mimicks your email the sender is hiding their identity.

Reply To

Same goes for the “Reply To” field. You can tell the email address has been spoofed because the “Reply To” address doesn’t match the “From” address.

Spoofing:

Email spoofing the process of disguising the original senders identity by creating email messages with a forged sender email address. The core email protocols do not have any mechanism for authentication, making it common for spam and phishing emails to use such spoofing to mislead or even prank the recipient about the origin of the message.

Final Notes.

Always check the recipients email. If you do not know or were not expecting anything from anyone DO NOT OPEN EMAIL ATTACHMENTS.

If you get emails from web designer telling you your website is s##t do ask your current web designers to send an audit report of your website. Also if the sender is sending you an email from a gmail, hotmail or msn account without a company signature in the footer of the email this is reason for alarm bells to ring.

DO NOT USE OFFSHORE WEBSITE DESIGNERS.

SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES!

Do not reply to anyone that has a suspicious email address, especially if it is a long thread of letters and numbers that do not resemble a person or company.

Always check email addresses from the sender.

Lastly always mark emails that have landed in your inbox as ‘report phishing’ rather than simply deleting them as the email client will block this email from their servers to stop other people falling victim.

PHISHING EMAILS & SCAMMERS

PHISHING EMAILS & SCAMMERS.

PHISHING EMAILS.

What is phishing.

People who prey on vulnerable people online are called cyber criminals.

These cyber criminals use a multitude of strategies to help someone part with sensitive information in order then to commit a crime.

The most common is email phishing whereby the recipient opens an email with a virus in it called malware. Malware can infiltrate the users computer and will collect data without the user knowing. Another way a cyber criminal targets a user is through telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure an innocent person into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords. This as a consequence can lead to identity theft.

If you notice an email that has clickable hyperlinks and attachments do some due diligence.

I will post a couple of emails that I have had today.

Cyber crime has been around for a very long time with the first phishing lawsuit filed in 2004 against a teenager from California who cloned a website “America Online”. This fake website conned people into thinking it was the real deal and as a consequence sensitive data from users was stolen to gain access to credit card details to withdraw money from their accounts. There are other ways that cyber criminals work other than through emails and website phishing. These other methods can also be ‘vishing’ (voice phishing), ‘smishing’ (SMS Phishing).

Most Popular Email Phishing is ad follows:

(In most case you do not know who has sent you the email but cybercriminals are being clever by cloning a popular organization such as Netflix, Apple, HMRC, GOV websites and Banks).

  1. Always be vigilant and open the senders email address to see if the sender looks legitimate or not.
  2. Sometimes the sender may look legit as in the example I set out below but may have a clickable hyperlink. Never click on clickable links or download attachments if you are not expecting anything from anyone or do not know who the sender is.
  3. Sometimes the cybercriminals may use an alternative website very similar to the original one to make it look like the email was sent from the real company. Usually by simply opening the senders email address you can see if they are the ‘Real McCoy’ or not. If you have been cc’d and you can see multiple recipients this is either spam or a virus.
  4. Sometimes you may get an email saying you have been hacked and you are being blackmailed to pay them with bitcoin within 24 hours or all your data will be sold on the dark web. Never interact with these people as it only could cause further problems, instead block and report and change you passwords.

What do you do when you receive these email?

Depending on your email client. I use outlook for mine I can block their email and then report them as phishing emails. I think what Microsoft does is bounce all emails from the sender after they get reported or block them permanently.

Remember that clickable hyperlinks and attachments could contain payloads like ransomware or other viruses. Hyperlinks are either blue or purple and your cursor turns into an arrow when you hover over them.

Below is a couple of dodgy emails I received today one forwarded from my client and when I phoned the number it went dead. (I did not click it ). The other thing may I add is if you type any words after the forward slash of any domain name that does not correspond to a created page, the search results will always be the same and will come up with a 404 error message or page not found. This is a way for a non IT person who relies on Web Designers and may not realise the danger they may be in by receiving an email like the one below and may inevitably end up get hood winked and scammed.

This is a virus email was sent to my client and then forwarded onto me.

The second email was from an Insurance Company.

In the last few days I attempted to set up dentistry insurance only to find the Cardiff in particular al though it applies to all of Wales in the UK as from Friday 23rd October to 9th November 2020 we are on lockdown again. So before I could even set up the dentistry plan I then had second thoughts and cancelled it this morning and asked if the company I was dealing with was associated with Close Brothers and they said they were not.

I then rang ‘Close Brothers’ after attempting to copy and paste the url into my browser

https://www.closebrothersbanking.com/registration/

and found the url/domain does not exist.

I did however phone the real Closebrothers.com website and they did seem to have my account details but they could not tell me who set up the new insurance?

They did however say if I have cancelled the health plan that I told them about then the company should cancel any direct debits.

From what I can see I only have one DD with this company for my home insurance which was renewed this month but that would not be a new DD, it would just carry on.

What Closebrothers did say was that my insurance DD was made through Atlantis 1.

When I asked for their website they could not tell me the domain name and upon further investigation I came up with https://www.autonetinsurance.co.uk/ which has no mention of Atlantis 1 other than in Companies House https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/03642372 which appertains to Autonet Insurance Services LTD.

Why set a name called Atlantis 1 and then use a totally different name for the domain name……….very confusing and I have not got a clue who sent me this email and why. Obviously I will have to wait it out.

Be careful we do not want to be shark bait!

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