Written: October 7, 2019

Dropbox Phishing Scam

I’ve been using Dropbox for years as a way to save all of my Invoices and PDF user manuals in the cloud, it works across all of my devices: Laptop, iPad and Android phone. An email today was suspicious because it claimed to be from Dropbox, but ended up in my junk email folder.

 

Dropbox phishing

At first glance it has nice formatting with an outlined box, and a pretty blue button called “View file”, but several things jumped out at me screaming scam:

Hopefully, you will also be suspicious of email that ends up in your Junk folder, although about 1-2 legitimate emails sent to me daily do wind up in the Junk folder by mistake. Just keep vigilant with all email messages, especially when they have a link or button for you to click. Just hover over that link and see what the address is before clicking it.

 

phishing address
Phishing address appears when you hover over the button
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Email Notification Phishing

An email just came in today warning me about: Undeliverable emails to your inbox. At first glance the message looked like it was auto-generated, but I knew that my email hosting is through ionos.com and nothing in this message had ionos.com listed.

Phishing

My first response was to click on the From email field to see if this was coming from ionos.com:

 

So the aortiz@faciteck.com address isn’t ionos.com, so I’m 100% certain that this is yet another phishing scam, designed to lure me into clicking some link in the message. If I examine one of the message links by right-clicking, I can copy and then paste the link.

http://awaitingpickup.com/wp-images/chambs/neww/Auto/index.php?email=daniel@tualatinweb.com&&domain=http://tualatinweb.com

So I know from looking at this link that the phishing hacker wants to send me to another web site where they have compromised the site and added their own malicious code. The moral of the story is to be suspicious of all email messages sent to you, especially if:

As a courtesy I did visit the infected site at http://awaitingpickup.com and used their Contact form to alert them to a hacked web site, so hopefully they will believe me and then hire a professional to clean up the infected folders and files, then adding security to harden their site, making it more difficult for hackers to exploit their site.

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Beware of GoDaddy Phishing Scheme

Another quick alert to an email phishing scam just received today, because it actually looks pretty legitimate at first glance.

 

Official logo, proper phone number, but ah, that Customer ID is just my email. Scrolling down to see the rest of the email, it looks official enough.

Hovering the cursor over the Green button reveals an address not at all related to godaddy.com, so we know it’s a phishing scam.

 

Another clue that this email is not legit, is to click on the From address and look for an address with godaddy.com suffix:

So this phishing scam had all of the telltale signs of a fake:

Phishing scams lure you into clicking that link in the email, then you land on a bogus page that collects your real account identity. Be smarter than the identity thieves, and double-check all email before clicking any links.

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Is your Password Safe Enough?

We all have online accounts and the process of providing a username and password is quite commonplace, but exactly how strong is your password? Just today on LinkedIn I received a message from a confirmed contact that is also freelance, and it talked about an opportunity, but somehow the message didn’t look quite right to me:

 

LinkedIn Message

First of all, we know each other, but the wording sounded formal and unlike the person. Secondly, the link was going to something on Amazon Web Services and the page just didn’t look legit:

 

First Suspect Page

Finally, clicking the link to Open File brought me to yet another insecure page, that was phishing for my Microsoft credentials:

 

Microsoft Phishing

At this point I was 100% certain that this was a phishing scam, but how did that message get sent within LinkedIn in the first place?

I did a quick text message to my freeleance contact and quickly confirmed that he did NOT send me a message on LinkedIn, rather a hacker had guessed his password and used his account to send out this message. My contact was able to change his LinkedIn password, thus securing control of his account and locking out the hacker.

Moral of the story? Well, if something in a LinkedIn message seems off, or not like the personality of your contact, then confirm before proceeding. When you confirm with your contact, use either email or text, not LinkedIn, because the hacker is logged into the victim’s account and will try to assure you that all is well, when in fact all is not well.

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Email scam – Navy Federal Credit Union

Hackers often send me phishing email messages in order to trick me into clicking a link, then trying to login to their fake web page, stealing my login credentials in the process. So how do I keep safe from such attempts?

Just this morning I received an official-looking email, claiming to be from Navy Federal Credit Union.

Navy Federal Credit Union

This email has a beautiful layout, official logo, pleasant stock photo, even nice fonts, so at first glance it looks legitimate, but being suspicious I begin to notice the telltale signs of a phishing scam:

  1. Dear Member – a real company knows my first and last name, along with an account number. Both of those are missing.
  2. Grammar – try reading the first sentence, it’s totally disjointed, so English was not the first language of the hacker.

Clicking on the sender’s email address is always the defining identity test.

Navy email

OK, so even the sender’s email address is bogus, because shuttleplanet.com is not navyfederal.org. The final determination that this is a phishing scam is that pretty, Orange button that they really want me to click, so just hovering my cursor over it reveals that the link has nothing to do with navyfederal.org:

Navy link

There you have it, I know with 100% certainty that this is a phishing email, not a legitimate one, however the sender was clever in making this email appear to be real with use of a beautiful layout, nice fonts and official logo. So be wary of email messages that invite you to click a button or click a link, because it just may send you to a hacker site that steals your login credentials instead.

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Email phishing scam – American Express

I receive dozens of emails daily, yet I approach anything that reaches my In Box with some skepticism because there are hackers out there that want me to click an email link, then trick me into entering my login credentials on a bogus web site. Today the follow message popped into my In Box, reportedly from American Express:

 

American Express

The subject line looked ominous: Ticket ID #1501K7505F0. My first clue was that I don’t have an American Express account.

Secondly the opening line in the message is: Dear valued member

A real email from American Express would have:

Looking at the from address it shows: 

 

So I know that the sender is not legitimate, because the real address would be something like info@americanexpress.com, not web@online.de

Finally, just hovering my cursor over the Click Here link reveals that this phishing link has nothing to do with www.americanexpress.com :

 

American Express link

So I know with 100% certainty that this email is not legitimate, rather it is a phishing attempt to lure me into clicking the link. Don’t be fooled by every email that comes into the In Box, instead, do some of this quick checks to verify that the email is legitimate before clicking any link. This is how to stay safe and yes, it does take away from your product work day.

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1&1 IONOS, Phishing Scam

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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Phishing Scam, that’s not really DocuSign

Several times per week I receive official-looking emails from what appears to be a trusted company or email sender, so today I just received an email using a From Name of “DocuSign Signature”, which is a little odd because most email messages have an actual person’s name in the from field.

On first glance this email appears to be legitimate because of the logo, header, grammar and fonts used. Being suspicious the first step that I take is to click on the From Address to see who was sending the email, or at least pretending to be:

Bingo, the From Address is not coming from @docusign.com, instead it is coming from @srcpro.com, so I am 99% assured that this is yet another Phishing scam to entice me to click a link and end up at a site to steal my login credentials.

A second, but more subtle indicator that this is a scam email is that the message isn’t centered on the page, or left-justified. It’s centered off to the right, which a real corporation like DocuSign would never allow to be sent out.

A third point, if I just hover my cursor over the enticing button, Sign Invoice, it reveals a totally bogus and very unsafe web address:

Finally, the content of the email starts out with, “Dear Recipient” which is always a symptom of a phishing scam. A real invoice from DocuSign would have my complete First and Last Name, plus a known Account Number. This email has none of my account details, so it’s a scam, and I should never click the Sign Invoice.

So, stay safe with your email, be on the guard for clever phishing scams like this one that can at first glance appear to be legitimate, but with a few seconds of double-checking turns out to be unsafe.

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Apple Phishing Scheme, Beware


I’ve owned Apple products for over a decade now and so I do pay attention to emails from Apple, and this is what just came into my mailbox this morning:

email from Apple?

Email from Apple?

At first blush this appears to be an authentic email from Apple, but then my eye caught the vertical left line in the email body which in Apple mail indicates a Copied section fo text has been Pasted into the message. Apple would never send me a Copy/Pasted piece of text.

Next, Apple would have an account number of display my first and last names, but not so on this email message. So my suspicions were high that this message was a fake, aka phishing message. Clicking on the From name revealed an address that wasn’t from apple.com, so I  knew 100% that this was a phishing message:

Not apple.com

Not apple.com

The final confirmation that this email was not legitimate was to hover my cursor over the link included:

bad link

Bad link

Although an email may look like an official Apple message, I took several steps of precaution and never clicked the link because I knew that something was a bit off with this message. Hopefully you will become more adept at spotting email messages that are instead phishing for details like your real Apple account login credentials, by thieves who want to steal your digital identity.

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Beware of this Quickbooks Phishing Scheme

I’ve been using Quicken software for decades now to run my business and personal financial tasks, so today when I received an official-looking email from Intuit Quickbooks I took notice.

Quickbooks phishing email

Phishing email

On the surface this looks a bit legitimate, yet when I probe to view the email from address it shows something invalid:

 

From address

Invalid address

The final determination that this is an unsafe phishing email is to hover my cursor over the Green button, View Bill Here:

 

bogus address

Bogus address

 

The bad guys are out there sending us phishing emails to trick us into clicking on their links and then start to steal our login identity. Don’t fall for it, just research the From address, Link addresses and then decide if it’s legitimate or phishing. Back to work for me.

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