The importance of forging a good relationship with your customers is paramount to your business. Unfortunately, hackers have become savvy at infiltrating email lists and sending out fake emails that look like they come from reputable companies in an attempt to capture personally identifiable information or initiate identity theft. Have messages like this become all-too-familiar in recent weeks?
“…We are letting our customers know that we have been informed by Epsilon, a vendor we use to send e-mails, that an unauthorized person outside Epsilon accessed files that included e-mail addresses of some of our customers…”
You’d virtually have to be living under a rock if you haven’t done business with one of the companies that was affected. National grocery and retail stores such as Kroger, Target, and Walgreens, banking centers like US Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, and Capital One, service providers like Verizon, TD Ameritrade, and Scottrade, and businesses where we spend entertainment dollars including Fry’s, Best Buy, and Disney Destinations were all exposed when Epsilon’s data system was breached.
How do you feel as a customer, knowing that your personal information could be in the hands of people with ill intent? Are you disgusted that the companies you regularly do business with didn’t take more care with your personal information?
Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is an email that is sent with the intent of soliciting personal information from the recipient for illegitimate purposes. Phishing emails aim to professionally befriend the reader by creating a seemingly legitimate concern and then offering a solution to the problem. A phishing email may read, “We are concerned someone has tried to access your bank account without your permission. We’ve halted your financial transactions as a precautionary measure for your safety. Please logon now to change your password.” Of course they are “fishing” to see if you’ll take the bait, follow the link, and disclose your information on an elaborately built, legitimate-looking site.
Since Epsilon’s data breach, customers have been placed on high alert regarding incoming emails. As someone who sends out email campaigns, it’s important to respect the unwritten rules of good e-campaigning:
1. Create a consistent look and tone in your communications. This helps customers become familiar and comfortable with your company.
2. Educate your customers about your best practices so they can learn to spot or become suspicious of potential “phishing” emails.
3. Become “Googleable” so customers can find you using key words as an alternate to direct paths and links.
4. Guard your customer list with care. We can help you set up safeguards to protect your information assets.
5. Have someone proofread your communications. A large majority of phishing emails have misspellings, incorrect spacing, or slight grammar snafus that can tip the reader off as to their legitimacy. Make sure your correspondences don’t raise any of these red flags.