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This Smells Phishy

December 2, 2009  

As phishers (criminals masquerading as trusted entities to grab usernames, passwords and credit card info) become more sophisticated, and your subscribers become more cautious about online commerce, it's important to know how the average customer vets the marketing messages you send—especially those in which you request personal information.

A legitimate appearance—in and of itself—no longer instills trust. And many recipients will follow advice like that from Elinor Mills at the InSecurity Complex blog. Here are a few tips she gives to readers:

Scrutinize a sender's email address. "Criminals will choose addresses that are similar to the one they are faking," she notes. "For instance, phishers have used '' However, legitimate PayPal messages in the United States come from '' and include a key icon."

Pay attention to non-personalized greetings. While your bank is likely to include your name and a partial account number, phishers will rely on generic salutations like, "Dear PayPal Customer."

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