Monday, February 6, 2012

TECH TIP: How to Spot Fraudulent Email With Bogus Links

A listener forwarded me an email that appeared to be from LinkedIn notifying them of a "new message".

What concerned this gentleman, and quite wisely, was that he didn't know a "Catherine Patterson". While only one of many clues, it was enough to raise the caution flag and seek assistance. Fortunately he asked questions before clicking the links.

I shared the following; perhaps it will be of value to you as well:

You can check the validity of links in Outlook emails by holding your mouse over the link URL. If the URL shown in the mouse-over does not match EXACTLY the URL you’d expect (i.e. -> or at least you can bet this is bogus. In the example you forwarded, the URL *displayed* is but the email code would send you to some crazy amrpartners dot com dot br URL.

While it’s POSSIBLE this is an email re-direct from their email provider, the “.br” domain, among other clues (i.e. you don’t know Catherine Pat makes me confident it’s fraudulent. You can always log in to separately to see if Catherine HAS in fact sent you a message.

Short version: If the mouse-over URL does not equal the displayed URL (and the domain of the site you’ve heard of), simply press delete.

More information on this topic from anti-virus maker Trend-Micro.

What clever tricks have you seen from spammers? If you have a tech question, feel free to reach out: techexpert AT brianwestbrook DOT com

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