I came across a Verizon email warning customers about phishing scams, and decided to share it. I found it interesting since a lot of companies don’t take such proactive measures to warn their customers of the dangers of online scams. Most of the time these emails are sent after the fact – after a company is aware of an ongoing phishing scam. So here’s an attaboy to Verizon!

Below is the Verizon email, in its entirety.

Dear Verizon Customer:

At Verizon, we want to help you increase your awareness and safety online. We’re sending you and other customers this reminder about preventing your data from falling prey to phishing scams.

Simply being aware that phishing schemes may pop up at any time in your email inbox is probably the best way to avoid falling victim to them. Phishing scams involve an official-looking email, supposedly sent by a bank or other company you do business with, often claiming to alert you to a problem with your payment or financial account. The email may ask you to provide critical account information by replying to the email or clicking on embedded Web links which will take you to a Web site that may appear legitimate, but is actually a malicious Web site set up to steal your information.

Spotting a phishing email or a bogus Web site is not always easy. Sometimes, it contains obvious spelling or grammatical errors. In other cases, the errors are harder to spot and there are no visible signs of foul play.

Here is a recent example of a phishing attack:

Verizon Phishing Scam Example

To avoid getting hooked by such bogus emails, here are some tips to help safeguard your personal information:

  • Do not open suspicious emails. Look for misspellings, awkward requests or inconsistent grammar.
  • A Web site link included in an email can make getting to a Web site easy, but it can also be used to send you to a malicious Web site.
  • If you have doubts about the authenticity of an email, do not click on any links in the email – instead, type the Web site or Web page address into the ‘address bar’ of your browser.
  • Never type sensitive personal information, such as social security and/or driver license numbers or account numbers and/or passwords, in a reply email.
  • Use spam filters to block suspicious emails.
  • Use anti-virus and anti-malware software to automatically detect and eliminate malicious software.
  • The best practice when you find a phishing email is to either immediately delete it or report it to the company or organization being impersonated. Like Verizon’s abuse@verizon.net mailbox, many companies have set up an ‘abuse’ or ‘security’ mailbox to receive those reports and provide customer assistance.

Finally, in order to provide you with additional confidence in Verizon alert messages going forward, Verizon will be removing live ‘clickable’ links from any alert messages we send you regarding payment processing problems or credit card and/or bank account issues. You can continue to access and make changes to your account any time of the day or night at www.verizon.com.

Thank you for choosing Verizon.