5 ways to prevent email attackers from getting your information

Today’s thieves don’t need to leave their house to steal from you, they can do it with a simple email. What looks like a legitimate bill or message from a trusted source is really a deceptive attempt to get your banking, credit card, or personal information. The worst part: instead of hacking into your account, they trick you into giving it to them.

Five Ways To Stay Safe

At GTel, we will NEVER ask for your passwords or personal information by email. Most reputable companies share this common policy. Last week, we were sent the email below from a customer who questioned it’s authenticity. Take a look…

1. Is the Sender email account legit? For example, when you receive and email from GTel it is from an account that ends with “@test.gtel.net”. Anyone can change their sender name, in this case, the attacker changed their account name to “iTunes ®.” But look closely at the email address… — this email was either sent by a student or employee with access to the Bucknell University email server, or worse, the attacker was able to hack into the college server and create this bogus email address. Make it a habit to scan emails, checking for ‘authentic’ addresses/accounts.

2. Subject lines: Beware! Attackers will try to use ‘official’ looking subject lines like, “Immediate Attention is Required…” usually a scam email subject has a simple misspelling (hey, thieves are only so smart) or they will try to overwhelm you with a fake subject that reads like a bill statement. In this case, they tried to make this subject line look like a bill receipt.

3. Check the links. You can hover your mouse over the links in an email without having to click on them. If the links point to a bogus site – BINGO, it’s fake!

4. What is their goal? Scams are only as strong as their offer. In this case, the claim is that a Netflix plan was purchased the day before this bill was sent. Hmm. Your first question should be, “did I recently make a purchase like this?”

5. Use common sense. YOU are the strongest tool in defeating a scam email. This Apple iTunes scam claimed that a Netflix Plan was purchased for 2 months at the price of $66.99 using an iTunes account. 1) This Netflix plan doesn’t exist. 2) You can’t purchase Netflix plans through iTunes. 3) And most importantly, you wouldn’t be able to charge a Netflix purchase through your iTunes account since they are two different companies.

If you still cannot verify the authenticity of an email or if you have questions about a scam, let us know! You can always call for information on the latest email scams at 518-537-GTEL.