8 Phishing Tactics Your Business Needs to Know About.
Recently a client forwarded me an email from a solicitor who was looking for new business, or that’s what it looked like at first glance. We had just deployed a website for them, so I was concerned when the only thing in the subject line was a row of question marks “??????”. The email he received seemed to my client as being a legitimate sales organization presenting a scenario in which they truly wanted to help them with their website. However, to me it was obviously a phishing expedition trying to cast doubt in the mind of a business owner and to attract them to respond.
Since we had just delivered a new website design to this client, I did not want them to think we created a substandard site for them. Consequently, I took time to respond to this client showing them the clues that tipped me off that this was a spam email. My hope was to give them the tools to recognize emails like this in the future.
I personally get these same types of emails all the time. I have had hundreds of these solicitations sent to me… After the shear volume of these types of emails you get pretty good at telling the true marketing approaches from the dangerous Phishing operations.
When doing business on the internet, you need to be cautious and careful. These unscrupulous marketers are cunning and have various reasons to engage with your business. Sometimes these emails represent a legitimate offshore contractor who is just trying to get new business. However, most of the time they just want you to engage with them so they can get your name and address to sell it to a spamming operation. Or, they are wanting to sell you a phony web service and get your Credit Card or banking information to scam you even worse.
So, lets breakdown this email and see what we have here:
Email Address: ………………….@gmail.com
Re: Error In Your Website…?
Hello, My name is Jason and I am a Digital Marketing Specialists for a Creative Agency.
I was doing some industry benchmarking for a client of mine when I came across your website. I noticed a few technical errors which correspond with a drop of website traffic over the last 2-3 months which I thought I would bring to your attention.
After closer inspection, it appears your site is lacking in 4 key criteria.
1- Website Speed
2- Link Diversity
3- Domain Authority
4- Competition Comparison
I would love the chance to send you all the errors that at least give you a gauge on the quality of what I do.
If you are interested then please share your Phone number and requirements.
Our prices are less than half of what other companies charge.
1. Your first clue – Notice the subject at the very top of the page.
“Contact Form Submission” This tells you volumes about this person’s intentions. Most honest people only use a contact form to reach out to buy your services not to market to you. To me this is like joining a church to sell Parishioners “Amway” or “Insurance services”. Just not a very respectable or professional approach.
2. Notice he doesn’t tell you the name of his company.
You never get the “Creative Agency” he supposedly works for. Consequently, there is not an opportunity to do a google search or read a Google Reviews about his company.
3. Then he explains he’s working on “a client of mine” when “lucky for you” I came across your website.
WHAT??? he happened to just come across your site and find errors. He almost intimates to you that his finding you is to your good fortune and he is willing to do some moonlighting for you because he just happened to notice some technical errors. I thought he worked for the Creative Agency (unnamed)! He later uses the pronoun “our” but in this case he shows he is a lone ranger that is operating a business of some type.
4. The letter is not very specific.
The email looks like a templated email where they have listed 4 possible problems with your company’s website. He uses jargon that highlights fears commonly associated with any website. i.e. “Website Speed”, “Link Diversity”, “Domain Authority”, “Competition Comparison”. These issues listed are vague and most office staff or managers are not versed in the problems associated with any of these terms. He makes it sound like that only a “Digital Marketing Specialists” could spot and fix these problems for you.
5. If this was legitimate sales letter this would have mentioned the name of who he was working with to boost his creditability.
Notice he doesn’t list the name of your website or the company name of who he was doing benchmarking work for. That would be too specific. Why? Because he is using a cut and paste template email designed specifically to get your information and scam you.
6. Toward the end of the letter he asks for your “phone number and requirements”.
What the heck! Requirements… what requirements? The sentence structure is not of US English language origin evidenced by that term “Requirements”. Sounds very proper. A British trained person would use this phrase not what a US educated person would use. Most likely an India based scammer is operating this Phishing expedition. Th
7. Notice he is asking questions to get a response from you.
If you are naive and respond to this email by saying a simple “no thank you” or ask additional questions, they’ve got you. He has what he wants. Most legitimate company employees receiving this email have their complete signature information at the bottom of their emails and that is just what scammers are looking for. They sell it and your get more spam.
8. The granddaddy of them all… “Our prices are less than half of what other companies charge”.
So, in this instant he uses “our” and tells you what decision makers what to hear, Less Money and Same or Better Result. That’s the final appeal to our greed. Earlier he just seemed like an employee who works for a company but looks for moonlighting opportunities and found you. Notice the pronouns change from “a client of mine” early in the letter to “our” company.
This letter is a fake. The pronouns change and there is nothing that allows you to check him out. He fields a between the lines concept to you that it’s your lucky day and some guy found you by happen chance and he wants to help you. He doesn’t quite say it, but he knows human nature and knows how to sucker you to respond. This email has all the hallmarks of a well-tested, response email.
Don’t give your information to these characters. Even if he was legit, he probably doesn’t live in your area, and if you had problems with his work you would have no recourse. My advice is to work with professionals, who you have fully vetted.