Phishing e-mails supposedly from friends making rounds again

Daily flooding of the e-mail inbox is often a necessary email. Some that arrive are obviously “junk” or SPAM. However, there seems to be another bunch of possible phishing emails doing their rounds trying to get unsuspecting people to click on them. They appear at first to be from a friend, colleague or someone you know – but you might want to think twice before you decide to click on it.

There are a few telltale signs that can help you tell if these emails are in fact, fake.

First, the “From:” will likely be someone recognizable – and that’s expected. However, if you hover your cursor or mouse (don’t click on it), over the name, the email address it came from will likely be something obscure. One e-mail I rec’d from my neighbour had an e-mail address from a Japanese service provider. Now this is not to say the e-mail actually originated from Japan, but rather knowing the sender – if it was really them, it’s unlikely it would come from that domain.

Second, there is no subject line. This may not be unusual, but all together it creates a pattern for these emails.

Third, there are a number of others listed as recipients including yourself – likely about a half dozen or so. If you hover over their names, the email addresses, they appear to be legitimate. But you might also notice a pattern. They might just include first names and are in alphabetical order. You might also series a series of recipients that are a patterned variation of your name your or email address or your domain. So for example, a variation of Greg Gazin might show Gant, Gauze, Gazing, Gazelle, Gazing, Gary. It could also be something like gadgetguy@, gadgety@, gagidy@, @gadgad. They may also be a series of emails all going to the same domain I think you get the idea.

Another red flag is that there is likely no content in the email, except for a link – likely to a domain you are not familiar with. And finally, there is likely a signature line that mirrors exactly the name in the “To:” field. So if for example, the email was sent to John E. Smith, the signature line will say, “John E. Smith.”

So if you’re getting a whack of emails from friends with no subject line and nothing more than a link and a signature, chances are it’s not really from friends but rather it’s fake and I strongly suggest you mark it as spam and delete it immediately. If you think they may have legitimately sent it, start a new message and ask the recipient if they in fact did send it to you. Under no circumstances would you reply to the incoming message.

Skype & Messenger

There also seems to be more phishing happening in Skype and Messenger. Often it’s a link, and image or a video that’s been dropped in your window without any additional information. Again, think twice before clicking on it. Best to check with your friend to see if they sent it. One huge telltale sign here is that if it’s coming from someone you may not have heard from in the recent past.

Be careful out there. This is just one of many emails out to get you. Watch for red flags and always make sure you keep your “radar” set to high.









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