1&1 IONOS, Phishing Scam

Written: March 27, 2019

My web site is hosted at 1&1, recently renamed to IONOS after a merger, so I pay attention to email that comes from that trusted vendor in case there’s an issue with web hosting services. Today in my Junk mail folder there was a message that had the proper blue logo colors from IONOS:

fake IONOS enail
Email in Junk Folder

Apple mail is pretty good when it comes to filtering out unwanted email, but maybe 1 in 100 Junk messages are actually real messages that I need to pay attention to. The first two words of the email message are “Dear Customer“, however I know from experience that IONOS does know my first and last name, plus they know my account number, so a legitimate email message would have those listed to verify authenticity.

The first paragraph starts out with the word “we”, which is supposed to be capitalized, so I’m already 100% certain that this is a phishing email designed to trick me into clicking a link, then stealing my login identity. As I continue to read the message their are typos and misspellings, so yeah, this is not a very bright phishing scheme.

Finally, the link that the malicious schemers want me to click is revealed to be bogus as I hover my cursor over it, revealing the true destination:

fake IONOS link
False Link Address

So, I wasn’t fooled by this phishing email and hopefully you too can become more vigilant when looking at email messages that arrive either in your Inbox or Junk mail folders. The bad guys are getting more sophisticated in impersonating legitimate vendors by copying their colors, logo and fonts.

A real vendor always identifies your account number, first and last name, plus their links are at a trusted site that you already have used before.

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Aspen Dental Web Woes

Written: March 26, 2019

In my house I get the job of paying bills, so when Aspen Dental sent me a bill I opted to pay online at their web site www.aspendental.com where I already had created an account. Oddly enough the paper bill that arrived in the mail had one amount due, but online it was a different amount due.

Aspen Dental
Online Dental Account

I typed in my Visa card credentials and waited for the transaction to be approved.

Credit Card payment
Broken Payment Page

The orange animated icon on the bottom spun in circles and I waited, however it never completed. Hmmm. Next I looked at my web browser for a special setting, Developer Tools, and it showed me that this payment page had 5 fatal Javascript errors. Not a good sign to be in business but have a broken payment page.

Javascript errors
5 Fatal Errors

Not a problem, I thought I will just report the bug on their web site. So where is the Contact Us form? This site has no method to send feedback or contact the owners, another major misstep.

OK, let’s give them a phone call and explain that their payment page is broken. First attempt I was put on hold, then disconnected. Second attempt I was disconnected. After lunch I tried a third time and finally got ahold of a live person, and I begged them not to disconnect me. They confirmed that the paper account balance was incorrect and took my credit card info over the phone.

I pointed out the fact that their web site has no way to contact the company with a Contact form or email address. I also request that they report their broken payment page to the web developer, but I didn’t get the idea that the person I was talking to had the intention to follow through.

Make sure that your business is on the web and has a way for clients to contact you by filling out a form, sending a text, tweeting or phoning. Then when a client does contact you, please follow through.

In the meantime, which dental group do you recommend, because I’m in the market for a new dentist.

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Keeping Your Web Hosting Plan Updated

Written: March 12, 2019

My website runs on the popular WordPress platform and is hosted at www.ionos.com, formerly called www.1and1.com. All is well, at least until it’s time to upgrade your web server language settings. For WordPress users that web language is called PHP, and WordPress will alert you if the version of PHP used on your web server is too old, leaving you open to security issues and support issues.

When I logged into a client site today in WordPress that alert appeared about my PHP version being too old, so here’s what I did in their GoDaddy account:

  1. My Products – the starting place.
  2. Web Hosting – click on the button: Manage
  3. Click on the button: cPanel Admin
  4. Scroll to Software, click: Select PHP Version
  5. Choose a PHP Version: 7.1

Hopefully that didn’t get too Geeky for you, but if this sounds too complex, then just give me a phone call or email, and I’ll click through all of these steps and verify that PHP is updated and that your WordPress site is running securely, so that you can concentrate on running and growing your business.

PHP Version

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Blocking Unwanted Phone Calls

Written: March 11, 2019

As your business grows the number of unwanted phone calls seems to also grow, so when I upgraded cell phones to a Samsung Galaxy S8+ I was so pleased to find a new built-in feature to block a number. The most annoying call I receive is from an automated system that sounds like, “You Google business listing is not verified, please press 1 to setup your free…”.

Sure, the recording promises that if I press 9 or some other number that they won’t call me again, but I didn’t want them to contact me the first time so why should I trust that they won’t keep pestering me again?

After I hang up, then I look at my recent phone calls and select the latest spam number. At the bottom right corner there’s a new link, “Block number“. I just click that link and then that ensures that I will never receive a call from that annoying caller again. What relief.

Thank you Samsung for adding this helpful feature to my Android phone.

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