Here’s how to recognize phishing emails when you’re not 100% sure.
I got this email today saying I needed to verify my account access to my Bank of America account. Well, first of all I don’t have any accounts at Bank of America… so I knew this was BS right away. But say I did have a BofA account… how do I recognize phishing emails that are complete crap made up by some idiot trying to trick me? Here’s how the email looked when I opened it in Outlook 2016. Notice the “click here” text is blue? That’s because it’s an HTML link, that I can click on.
So to dig in a little further, I can see one thing right away that tells me something’s wrong. Look in the top center of the email. Usually if there’s an email from a company (say… Sears) the email address is going to come from the company website (sears.com), right? They want to be consistent with brand marketing, image, etc… Sometimes they’ll misspell things too… just close enough to make people assume that it’s the right company… like this. On the top center the domain is not “USPS” it’s “USPA”. And the link down the page goes to “thechillionaireretreat.com”… that’s nothing to do with shipping I’m sure. And I wouldn’t go to the website either, there’s probably a virus on the page ready to try to infect your computer.
On the photo above, the email was already in my spam folder. On the photo below you can see the email in HTML format (the pretty view). You can see there’s no “reference” link showing the true destination of the link in the phishing email. In order to see that without clicking on it, you can place your mouse cursor over the blue text link, and you’ll see the little off-white window pop up to show you the true destination of that link. And once again you can see it’s some weird URL which has nothing to do with Bank of America. It ends in an “edu” domain which is typically supposed to be for schools, not financial institutions.
Just a word to the wise about how to recognize phishing emails. If you have any questions, feel free to email or sign in and comment.
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