Email Phishing Scams Indicators and Best Practices

Email “phishing” scams utilize fraudulent emails that appear to originate from legitimate financial institutions, transaction processors or other business entities that routinely conduct business with merchants.

Please review the following indicators and be on guard for scams:

  • Look closely at the sender’s email address – the “from” line in these fraudulent emails usually very closely resembles a legitimate address. Close inspection may reveal unusual characters or structure that may help confirm that the email is fraudulent.
  • Check email images and graphics – often images and graphics in these fraudulent emails are out of place or incorrect. This results when a fraudulent message attempts to reference an image from a legitimate entity’s website.
  • Pay attention to message format and context – message length, grammar, word choice and sentence structure play a part in the success of a phishing email. Merchants should be aware that emails arriving with errors or in different languages should be validated prior to responding.
  • Pay attention to message tone – if an email demands your attention or a certain action and indicates that there will be consequences if response is not made, contact your service provider to validate the information before responding. Harsh tactics may be a sign that the request is fraudulent.
  • Consider whether the message seems out of character – if you have never received a request of a similar nature, the email may be fraudulent.
  • Be wary of embedded hyperlinks – hyperlinks in emails from unfamiliar sources should not be utilized. To determine if the link is valid, a new browser should be opened and the address provided should by typed in as opposed to being copied and pasted it. In many instances, when typed in, the address will prove invalid.

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