Even though I am about the most conservative Internet user you are likely to come across I get email phishing scams the same as every one else. For instance just the other day I received one pretending to be from the payroll processor ADP. Of course the email stood out immediately as being important, but right away I was suspicious because I currently don’t have any accounts open with them. However, at this time of year it could easily have been the payroll report or the tax information they are required to send out at year’s end. If I had been a current customer of theirs I most likely would have clicked on the downloadable zip file and gotten a virus, malware or Trojan on my computer. Though not strictly phishing, where they asked me to go to a website and enter my confidential information, who knows what was in that zip file attachment they encouraged me to click on.
To tell who is really sending the email, always check the ‘reply to’ address.
Make sure that the part after the ‘@’ symbol is the domain they are claiming to be. The one that I received the other day was some company that had nothing to do with ADP, but it wasn’t obvious at first glance. Remember, it’s easy to fake the first part of the address, which is usually a name or an abbreviation of a name, but it’s the last part of the address that tells where it’s actually coming from.
While I have a good anti-virus program on my computer, and my email hosting company also provides excellent spam protection, still it is impossible to be entirely free from these types of email phishing scams. The important thing is to not get in such a hurry trying to get through all of the mail so that you click before you think, which is very common these days. Keeping your mailbox cleaned out is an excellent way to help in spotting these fraudulent emails. I deleted this one as soon as I realized what it was. Leaving old emails, especially ones that may include viruses or malware is a very risky practice, because it’s easy to accidentally click on the unwanted file thinking you are opening something legitimate.
If I had been an ADP account holder I would have played it safe and contacted my account representative to make sure the email was from them, and to also let them know I had received it. They may not be able to do anything about the sender but at least they will be informed of the situation and let other customers know that someone is pretending to be contacting them from their company.