Email Alert: Phishing and Pharming

As i’ve said before it’s best to have you own domain name. with a domain name you can create many different email addresses. one that i use is “submit” @slgd.com. i use this email when i sign up for things and don’t really care if i hear back from that web site or service again. because if i start getting alot of spam to that email address i can delete it. once it’s deleted i can start another called “submit2” @slgd.com. (notice how i break up even this email address i’m talking to you about?) phishers will pull email addresses from the internet, blogs, chat rooms, online classified ads and add them to their spam list. just recently i posted an ad at craigslist.com as i saw a spike of spam emails in my email account. that just goes to show you how fast phishers get your email address from the internet.

if you would like to have your own domain name contact us and we’ll get you set up so you can protect your email.

Resource below from SunTrust.com
Phishing
Criminals use fraudulent emails (known as phishes) or pop-up Web pages that appear legitimate and are designed to deceive you into sharing personal or account information. The phishes often include logos of legitimate companies, content from their Web sites, and names of real employees.

Many scammers randomly generate email addresses – that’s why you may have received fraudulent emails that appear to be from banks you do not have an account with. They may also obtain email addresses online from Web pages, chat rooms, online auctions, directories or other sources.

Remember, SunTrust will never send unsolicited emails asking clients to provide, update, or verify personal or account information, such as passwords, Social Security numbers, PINs, credit or Check Card numbers, or other confidential information. Pharming
Pharming occurs when you type in a Web address and it redirects you to a fraudulent Web site without your knowledge or consent. The Web site will try and look similar to the legitimate site in hopes of capturing your confidential information.

email “subject” lines

it’s really best to have a subject line in an email. it’s good email etiquette. for anyone, not only myself, subject lines if filled out accurately can be very helpful to the end user, because it cuts down on having to search an email you’re looking for. one of my pet peeves is when a sender picks an email randomly and sends an email that has nothing to do with the subject of that email, just because they don’t want to take the time to fashion a proper email. i get many emails a day from client’s about different subjects. subject lines help me be a better manager of my time and my client’s time.

What are the etiquette rules?
There are many etiquette guides and many different etiquette rules. Some
rules will differ according to the nature of your business and the corporate
culture. Below we list what we consider as the 32 most important email
etiquette rules that apply to nearly all companies.

32 most important email etiquette tips:

1. Be concise and to the point

2. Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions

3. Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation

4. Make it personal

5. Use templates for frequently used responses

6. Answer swiftly

7. Do not attach unnecessary files

8. Use proper structure & layout

9. Do not overuse the high priority option

10. Do not write in CAPITALS

11. Don’t leave out the message thread

12. Add disclaimers to your emails

13. Read the email before you send it

14. Do not overuse Reply to All

15. Mailings > use the bcc: field or do a mail merge

16. Take care with abbreviations and emoticons

17. Be careful with formatting

18. Take care with rich text and HTML messages

19. Do not forward chain letters

20. Do not request delivery and read receipts

21. Do not ask to recall a message.

22. Do not copy a message or attachment without permission

23. Do not use email to discuss confidential
information

24. Use a meaningful subject

25. Use active instead of passive

26. Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT

27. Avoid long sentences

28. Don’t send or forward emails containing libelous,
defamatory, offensive, racist or obscene remarks

29. Don’t forward virus hoaxes and chain letters

30. Keep your language gender neutral

31. Don’t reply to spam

32. Use cc: field sparingly

1. Be concise and to the point.

Do not make an e-mail longer than it needs to be. Remember that reading
an e-mail is harder than reading printed communications and a long e-mail
can be very discouraging to read.

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2. Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions.

An email reply must answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions
– If you do not answer all the questions in the original email, you will
receive further e-mails regarding the unanswered questions, which will
not only waste your time and your customer’s time but also cause considerable
frustration. Moreover, if you are able to pre-empt relevant questions,
your customer will be grateful and impressed with your efficient and thoughtful
customer service. Imagine for instance that a customer sends you an email
asking which credit cards you accept. Instead of just listing the credit
card types, you can guess that their next question will be about how they
can order, so you also include some order information and a URL to your
order page. Customers will definitely appreciate this.

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3. Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation.

This is not only important because improper spelling, grammar and punctuation
give a bad impression of your company, it is also important for conveying
the message properly. E-mails with no full stops or commas are difficult
to read and can sometimes even change the meaning of the text. And,
if your program has a spell checking option, why not use it?

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4. Make it personal.

Not only should the e-mail be personally addressed, it should also
include personal i.e. customized content. For this reason auto replies
are usually not very effective. However, templates can be used effectively
in this way, see next tip.

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5. Use templates for frequently used responses.

Some questions you get over and over again, such as directions to your
office or how to subscribe to your newsletter. Save these texts as response
templates and paste these into your message when you need them. You
can save your templates in a Word document, or use pre-formatted emails.
Even better is a tool such as ReplyMate
for Outlook
(allows you to use 10 templates for free).

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6. Answer swiftly.

Customers send an e-mail because they wish to receive a quick response.
If they did not want a quick response they would send a letter or a
fax. Therefore, each e-mail should be replied to within at least 24
hours, and preferably within the same working day. If the email is complicated,
just send an email back saying that you have received it and that you
will get back to them. This will put the customer’s mind at rest and
usually customers will then be very patient!

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7. Do not attach unnecessary files.

By sending large attachments you can annoy customers and even bring
down their e-mail system. Wherever possible try to compress attachments
and only send attachments when they are productive. Moreover, you need
to have a good virus scanner in place since your customers will not
be very happy if you send them documents full of viruses!

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8. Use proper structure & layout.

Since reading from a screen is more difficult than reading from paper,
the structure and lay out is very important for e-mail messages. Use
short paragraphs and blank lines between each paragraph. When making
points, number them or mark each point as separate to keep the overview.

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9. Do not overuse the high priority option.

We all know the story of the boy who cried wolf. If you overuse the
high priority option, it will lose its function when you really need
it. Moreover, even if a mail has high priority, your message will come
across as slightly aggressive if you flag it as ‘high priority’.

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10. Do not write in CAPITALS.

IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS IT SEEMS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING. This can
be highly annoying and might trigger an unwanted response in the form
of a flame mail. Therefore, try not to send any email text in capitals.

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11. Don’t leave out the message thread.

When you reply to an email, you must include the original mail in your
reply, in other words click ‘Reply’, instead of ‘New Mail’. Some people
say that you must remove the previous message since this has already
been sent and is therefore unnecessary. However, I could not agree less.
If you receive many emails you obviously cannot remember each individual
email. This means that a ‘threadless email’ will not provide enough
information and you will have to spend a frustratingly long time to
find out the context of the email in order to deal with it. Leaving
the thread might take a fraction longer in download time, but it will
save the recipient much more time and frustration in looking for the
related emails in their inbox!

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12. Add disclaimers to your emails.

It is important to add disclaimers to your internal and external mails,
since this can help protect your company from liability. Consider the
following scenario: an employee accidentally forwards a virus to a customer
by email. The customer decides to sue your company for damages. If you
add a disclaimer at the bottom of every external mail, saying that the
recipient must check each email for viruses and that it cannot be held
liable for any transmitted viruses, this will surely be of help to you
in court (read more about email
disclaimers
). Another example: an employee sues the company for
allowing a racist email to circulate the office. If your company has
an email policy in place and adds an
email disclaimer to every mail that states that employees are expressly
required not to make defamatory statements, you have a good case of
proving that the company did everything it could to prevent offensive
emails.

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13. Read the email before you send it.

A lot of people don’t bother to read an email before they send it out,
as can be seen from the many spelling and grammar mistakes contained
in emails. Apart from this, reading your email through the eyes of the
recipient will help you send a more effective message and avoid misunderstandings
and inappropriate comments.

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14. Do not overuse Reply to All.

Only use Reply to All if you really need your message to be seen by
each person who received the original message.

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15. Mailings > use the Bcc: field or do a mail merge.

When sending an email mailing, some people place all the email addresses
in the To: field. There are two drawbacks to this practice: (1) the
recipient knows that you have sent the same message to a large number
of recipients, and (2) you are publicizing someone else’s email address
without their permission. One way to get round this is to place all
addresses in the Bcc: field. However, the recipient will only see the
address from the To: field in their email, so if this was empty, the
To: field will be blank and this might look like spamming. You could
include the mailing list email address in the To: field, or even better,
if you have Microsoft Outlook and Word you can do a mail merge and create
one message for each recipient. A mail merge also allows you to use
fields in the message so that you can for instance address each recipient
personally. For more information on how to do a Word mail merge, consult
the Help in Word.

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16. Take care with abbreviations and emoticons.

In business emails, try not to use abbreviations such as BTW (by the
way) and LOL (laugh out loud). The recipient might not be aware of the
meanings of the abbreviations and in business emails these are generally
not appropriate. The same goes for emoticons, such as the smiley :-).
If you are not sure whether your recipient knows what it means, it is
better not to use it.

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17. Be careful with formatting.

Remember that when you use formatting in your emails, the sender might
not be able to view formatting, or might see different fonts than you
had intended. When using colors, use a color that is easy to read on
the background.

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18. Take care with rich text and HTML messages.

Be aware that when you send an email in rich text or HTML format, the
sender might only be able to receive plain text emails. If this is the
case, the recipient will receive your message as a .txt attachment.
Most email clients however, including Microsoft Outlook, are able to
receive HTML and rich text messages.

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19. Do not forward chain letters.

Do not forward chain letters. We can safely say that all of them are
hoaxes. Just delete the letters as soon as you receive them.

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20. Do not request delivery and read receipts.

This will almost always annoy your recipient before he or she has even
read your message. Besides, it usually does not work anyway since the
recipient could have blocked that function, or his/her software might
not support it, so what is the use of using it? If you want to know
whether an email was received it is better to ask the recipient to let
you know if it was received.

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21. Do not ask to recall a message.

Biggest chances are that your message has already been delivered and
read. A recall request would look very silly in that case wouldn’t it?
It is better just to send an email to say that you have made a mistake.
This will look much more honest than trying to recall a message.

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22. Do not copy a message or attachment without permission.

Do not copy a message or attachment belonging to another user without
permission of the originator. If you do not ask permission first, you
might be infringing on copyright laws.

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23. Do not use email to discuss confidential information.

Sending an email is like sending a postcard. If you don’t want your email
to be displayed on a bulletin board, don’t send it. Moreover, never make
any libelous, sexist or racially discriminating comments in emails, even
if they are meant to be a joke.

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24. Use a meaningful subject.

Try to use a subject that is meaningful to the recipient as well as yourself.
For instance, when you send an email to a company requesting information
about a product, it is better to mention the actual name of the product,
e.g. ‘Product A information’ than to just say ‘product information’ or
the company’s name in the subject.

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25. Use active instead of passive.

Try to use the active voice of a verb wherever possible. For instance,
‘We will process your order today’, sounds better than ‘Your order will
be processed today’. The first sounds more personal, whereas the latter,
especially when used frequently, sounds unnecessarily formal.

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26. Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT.

Even more so than the high-priority option, you must at all times try
to avoid these types of words in an email or subject line. Only use this
if it is a really, really urgent or important message.

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27. Avoid long sentences.

Try to keep your sentences to a maximum of 15-20 words. Email is meant
to be a quick medium and requires a different kind of writing than letters.
Also take care not to send emails that are too long. If a person receives
an email that looks like a dissertation, chances are that they will not
even attempt to read it!

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28. Don’t send or forward emails containing libelous, defamatory,
offensive, racist or obscene remarks.

By sending or even just forwarding one libelous, or offensive remark
in an email, you and your company can face court cases resulting in multi-million
dollar penalties.

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29. Don’t forward virus hoaxes and chain letters.

If you receive an email message warning you of a new unstoppable virus
that will immediately delete everything from your computer, this is most
probably a hoax. By forwarding hoaxes you use valuable bandwidth and sometimes
virus hoaxes contain viruses themselves, by attaching a so-called file
that will stop the dangerous virus. The same goes for chain letters that
promise incredible riches or ask your help for a charitable cause. Even
if the content seems to be bona fide, the senders are usually not. Since
it is impossible to find out whether a chain letter is real or not, the
best place for it is the recycle bin.

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30. Keep your language gender neutral.

In this day and age, avoid using sexist language such as: ‘The user should
add a signature by configuring his email program’. Apart from using he/she,
you can also use the neutral gender: ”The user should add a signature
by configuring the email program’.

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31. Don’t reply to spam.

By replying to spam or by unsubscribing, you are confirming that your
email address is ‘live’. Confirming this will only generate even more
spam. Therefore, just hit the delete button or use email software to remove
spam automatically.

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32. Use cc: field sparingly.

Try not to use the cc: field unless the recipient in the cc: field knows
why they are receiving a copy of the message. Using the cc: field can
be confusing since the recipients might not know who is supposed to act
on the message. Also, when responding to a cc: message, should you include
the other recipient in the cc: field as well? This will depend on the
situation. In general, do not include the person in the cc: field unless
you have a particular reason for wanting this person to see your response.
Again, make sure that this person will know why they are receiving a copy.

reference: Email Etiquette
if you’d like more information about the internet contact us at slgd.com.

another satisfied customer

i got a call from a friend of mine on friday 4-20-07 and he said there is a church in powhatan, manakin episcopal church, that had their hosting taken away. i believe it was a hostile take over between hosting companies and they fell through the cracks. most people don’t know all the ends and outs of hosting, domains, user names and passwords and such. that’s where we come in. we opened a hosting account for them on friday…we instructed them on how to ftp the site to the server and recovered usernames and passwords from network solutions and their site is live and online today 4-24-07. it took 2 business days to complete this transaction…another satisfied customers!

however, i do not recommend network solutions…they charge too much for services. give samuel little graphic design a call and we’ll help get you a better deal in domain name registration and hosting services.

left high and dry? don’t know where your site is hosted? don’t know where your domain is registered?
we provide web site and domain name recovery. we have clients that don’t keep up with their usernames and passwords to domains and hosting. when it comes time to changing webmasters, domain registrars and or hosting companies, webmasters need this information to make the transfer. slgd has a recovery unit that will research and find out – who, what, and where, to recover your web site and domains quickly and get you back online asap. contact us when you are in desperate need.

domain name and web site hosting recovery unit – call 804-545-7503 or contact us by visiting slgd.com

in the middle – part three

i interviewed at places like the martin agency, the stienrich group, circuit city, many places. i remember interviewing at the stienrich group and they told me to work on my portfolio and come back and they’d consider me. i didn’t bring any graphic design tools with me so i went to the art deptartment art store and bought some supplies. then for about 3 days i went to the public library downtown branch and set up shop. they had these huge drafting tables just like in the art dept at college. i would set up shop there in the morning work on my portfolio, then pack up for lunch (i didn’t want my stuff stolen), go to lunch come back and set back up again to work on my portfolio…it was pretty tedious but i was determined. i had alot of strange looks while i was there…some of the library staff was helpful and some felt like it was an invasion into there space. i used the large windows as a light table, hoping not to trip the alarms. i moved furniture around to fit my needs, but i always moved everything back where i found it.

after all of this hard work, i got several more interviews, but no offers. i had spoken with the program director of the boy scout council (remember i’m an eagle scout) here in richmond and got an interview with the president of marketing for signet bank which has 5 eagle scout sons, that was my ticket in. all of that hard work had paid off from when i was young. once in the interview i told them about my story of my travels and determination to live in richmond and be a graphic designer. they were impressed. and they asked would you do it all again and i said yes…without a doubt.

while waiting to hear back from all of my interviews i worked a little internship in lynchburg va at an ad agency. i had no more interviews left to do so i figured if this guy is going to let me work for him for enough money to cover my hotel room, why not. i had nothing else to do anyway, the market was dry. once in lynchburg, i got a hotel room at this place outside of town which was a little vacation spot. my first night there, i was watching tv all by my lonesome and was thinking “what the hell am i doing here?” and i thought well i won’t be here if i didn’t want to be. hum, that was enough reason for me…because i was chasing my dream. i was willing to do what ever it took. so, i spent the week in lynchburg working at the agency. on the last day of my internship i got a call from signet bank wanting a second interview with me. this was my big break. in the interview with signet bank, they asked were i had been since my first interview and i told them and they where impressed once again and i got the job.

in the middle – part two

i packed my bags (my truck) and hit the road. i drove to my aunts house just outside of atlanta, ga and spent the night there then the next morning drove to a phone booth out in the middle of a tobacco field in the middle of nowhere amelia, va as instructed by my college friend i was going to stay with til i got a job. after driving all that way (later i found out door step to door step it’s right at 1,000 miles) i ended up at this phone booth. i called my friend to instruct me the rest of the way and he was not home and it started to rain. (believe it or not this was before cell phones. imagine that, yes there was a time when we did not have cell phones available like today 4-21-07) that was not a good feeling. once i made contact and got settled in at my friends farm house in amelia, va i starting driving in to richmond everyday to look for jobs, combing the sunday newspaper, setting up interviews. i only knew of 2 routes to take in and out of richmond and 1 main street into downtown that i felt comfortable with, without getting lost. that was interstate 64 in and hull street rd. out…once in town i felt safe with monument ave. which turns into franklin street to get to downtown and i have a specific parking spot to where i felt safe my truck would not get towed (a mississippi boy never had to worry about parking before). and from that parking spot i walked to every downtown interview.