Cyber Crime: What to Look Out for When Classifying Legitimate Mail
You are probably familiar with the recent Equifax data breach affecting more than 40% of the US population. As you can imagine, this is a pretty big deal and will continue to affect consumers for quite some time.
And now that the stolen data is out there in this world, consumers should be questioning everything that reaches their inbox. Below are some tips to help consumers and senders classify legitimate mail.
- Be aware that cyber criminals will be using this stolen data to try and trick you, so only open mail from trusted sources (look at the from address, to, subject line, date/time, etc. to see if anything looks odd).
- Question all links and attachments before opening them.
- Change digital passwords, making sure they are unique for each site.
It is likely that mail receivers will also be adjusting their filters to further prevent malicious emails from reaching their users as well.
Now that everyone is on the lookout, it would be wise for email marketers to double check their mail before sending because sometimes legitimate mail can be misclassified.
- Configure SPF and DKIM on all your sending domains to prove your identity to receivers.
- Consider creating a DMARC policy for your sending domain(s) to avoid potential “spoofing.”
- Make sure links included in your mailings have a good reputation and be sure to cover them with text or an image. Exposed URLs are a big red flag.
- Avoid using large images, and be sure you have a good text to image ratio.
- Make sure you have a valid, clear unsubscribe link in your mailing.
- Be sure you are only sending to recipients that have given you permission. If recipients begin flagging your mail as spam, then it may be very difficult to prove that your mail is legitimate for those that want to receive it.
- Be sure your subject line clearly reflects what is contained in the message.
- If possible, try to avoid sending attachments. Instead, host the information on a web page.
- Double-check grammar and spelling. These mistakes could be the sign of a “phisher.”
Test your skills! Hover (don’t click…yet) over the hyperlinked text in this blog to see where the link will be taking you.
Ask yourself, “Do I trust where this link is going to take me?”
Of course none of my links in this blog are malicious, but it is important to question yourself before you click on something. Remember, most times you don’t know cyber-crime is taking place until it is too late, so prevention is crucial, and preventing your mailings from being misclassified is a must!