I Smell Something "Phishy": Beware of Phishing Emails
I just wanted you to share my experience about phishing emails four years ago. Around 2013, I received an email from HostMonster team, my hosting company. Their message is shown above.
However, I smell something "phishy" about their email.
First and foremost, they only called me as Customer and not by my name. When Hostmonster sends me emails, they usually address me in my name, and they would never use the word customer.
Second is their email address itself. Instead of @hostmonster.com, their email is firstname.lastname@example.org. They never used email addresses @hm.com.
Finally, I informed the Hostmonster Technical Support about the email I received and provided them the needed info. They told me that they have never sent any email like that, confirming my suspicion that the email I received is a fraud.
But why would a scammer send me emails like these? How would this benefit them? The answer is understanding the nature of phishing emails and their very purpose.
What are Phishing Emails?
The main purpose of Phishing emails is to steal important information from your computer such as credit card details, username and password of your email and hosting accounts. This can be done through encouraging/forcing you to click the links of email messages so that malicious software will be installed on your computer.
So how do we distinguish an email from legitimate source from a Phishing email? Like what I have said earlier, legitimate emails usually address you in your first name and not Dear Customer. Second, phishing emails usually portray a sense of urgency like the email shown above. They will usually threaten you that your account will be blocked if you will not click the link they sent.
Third, if you hover your mouse over the link, the real URL of the link will show itself, and it is usually different from the one displayed on your email. For instance, the URL shown in the email is hostmonster.com, but when you hover your mouse on that link, a different URL will show. You may read more info about phishing emails, messages and phone calls through this link.
Every time you receive emails from your hosting account especially if they said that there is something wrong with your account, try to contact them first through live chat or support ticket if live chat is unavailable. It will be wiser to discuss any problem if you chat directly with their customer service representatives, instead of clicking links on emails that were sent to you.
Nothing to lose if we choose the safe side. Better safe than sorry.