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Released: June 18, 2008
Help Desk FAQ
How can I tell if an email is fraudulent?
You can stay safe from phishing by following these guidelines:
1. Does the email ask you to go to a website and verify personal information? Legitimate companies don't ask you to verify your personal information in response to an email.
2. What is the tone of the mail? Most phishing emails have a sense of urgency—they may threaten discontinued service or information loss if you don't take immediate action.
3. What is the quality of the email? Many phish emails (but not all) have misspellings, bad grammar, or poor punctuation.
4. Are the links in the email valid? Deceptive links in phishing emails look like they go to a valid site, but they actually send you to a fraudulent website. You might be able to see if the link is legitimate by just moving your mouse over the link.
5. Is the email personalized with your name and applicable account information? Many phish emails use generic salutations and generic information (e.g. "Dear Customer" or "Dear Account Holder") instead of your name.
6. What is the sender's email address? Many phish emails come from an email address not from the company represented in the email. Some are tricky and include the company's name, but not how you would expect to see it as in "www.legitimatecompany.com." [example, not live link]
7. If you suspect an email to be phishing, don't click on any links in the email. Type the company's valid address directly into your web browser. Or look on one of your recent billing statements to find the phone number to call and ask the company about the email.
8. Most companies allow you to forward suspicious emails to them. They often use the address "[email protected]," [example, not live link] however you can make sure you have the right address by independently visiting the company's legitimate website.
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