Phishing emails, by which scammers and identity thieves, posing as familiar companies with which you do business, attempt to lure you into either clicking on links contained within the email which will download malware or providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft, are nothing new.  They are a staple of identity thieves and scammers and with good reason because they work.  As always, they lure you by making it appear that there is an emergency that requires your immediate attention or else dire consequences will occur.   Recently security company Check Point Research issued a report indicating which companies names and logos were most used by scammers when creating phishing emails.  Topping the list was Walmart followed by package delivery company DHL, Microsoft, LinkedIn, FedEx, Google and Netflix.

Some phishing emails are very sophisticated, having a legitimate appearing logos and proper grammar and punctuation while others are so poorly constructed that they give true scam artists a bad name.  Often a telltale sign that the email is a part of a scam is that the email address of the sender has absolutely nothing to do with the company it purports to be because it is being sent through a botnet of hijacked computers.  Another tell tale sign of a phishing email is when your name is not used in the salutation, but rather it is addressed to “Dear Customer.”

Here is a copy of a recent phishing  email that purports to come from Netflix.

Never click on a link in an email or text message or provide personal information unless you have confirmed that the email or text message is legitimate. If you have some thought that the email might be legitimate, you still shouldn’t provide information through links in the email, but rather contact the company at a phone number or email address that you know is legitimate.

Also, because any of us can be scammed, it is a good idea to use dual factor authentication whenever possible to protect your various accounts so that even if someone actually had your password they would not be able to access your account.

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