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1 WHITEPAPER Phishing Facts for Marketers: Understanding the phishing factor impact on your programs. phishing attacks are destructive for everyone, it s not just the brands (and their customers) who fall victim to this scam...it s the entire community who will feel the effects. V12 Group 141 West Front Street, Suite 410 Red Bank, NJ

2 Phishing Facts for Marketers: Understanding the phishing factor impact on your programs. Page 2 phishing attacks are destructive for everyone, it s not just the brands (and their customers) who fall victim to this scam...it s the entire community who will feel the effects. Wikipedia defines phishing as follows: Phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Simply stated, phishing is an attempt to acquire or capture personal information online via to be used for unlawful purposes. With every phishing scam, the investment a brand puts into building trust and credibility dies and so does current and impending customer relationship. The return on marketing investment can decrease dramatically as customers may lose trust, and become less willing to do online transactions with your brand for fear of fraudulent activity and exposed personal information. THE LANDSCAPE Consumers are concerned and rightfully so since identity theft is on the rise. According to the 2010 Identity Theft Resource Center survey, 81% of consumer respondents cited phishing s as a significant concern relating to the security of their personal and financial information when conducting online transactions. Every day more than 260 million fraudulent s, pretending to be from a trusted company, are sent to consumers.

3 Phishing Facts for Marketers: Understanding the phishing factor impact on your programs. Page 3 In the second half of 2009, there were at least 126,000 phishing attacks, more than double the number recorded in the first half of the year and in 2010 there were 203,000 attacks. 42% of respondents in a Cloudmark Survey felt that their trust in a brand would be greatly reduced if they received a phishing claiming to be sent by that brand. Most service providers and e-commerce sites take pre-cautions to protect customers against phishing, fraud and hacking but with recent security breaches that have exposed millions of s, those prevention tactics will most likely increase over the next few months and may impact your programs. This paper will help emarketers understand that you can take preventative steps and strategic measures to ensure your communications are not interrupted and snagged by filters. WHY PHISHING ATTACKS ARE DETRIMENTAL TO YOUR MARKETING With an estimated 300 brands being hijacked every month, phishing and spoofing is eroding trust within the entire channel. One big issue is that legitimate marketers are getting trapped in the net and ultimately their s are being inappropriately flagged as phishing scams. Look inside any inbox and you may see various s from banks, ebay, PayPal, social networks and the like, prompting you in one way or another to either update your security information, password or click to confirm an action. These

4 Phishing Facts for Marketers: Understanding the phishing factor impact on your programs. Page 4 s are trying to convince you that they are who they say they are. Once you click and enter your personally identifiable information, they can steal your identity and even wipe out a bank account! So, obviously, ESPs are fighting to stop these scams, leaving marketers with the task to ensure that their legitimate e-marketing messages are not flagged for phishing. WHAT DOES A PHISHING AND LINK LOOK LIKE? The phishing scam might appear as any normal from a trusted source: - Your bank or financial institution threatening to close an account or wanting to verify a transaction, or confirming account information - They might pose as a company you shop with often or a social networking site - From a friend or someone in your address book - It may prompt you to make a phone call and direct you to call an operator who would collect your personal information - They may include official looking logos and trick you with personal information found on a social network Most likely, phishing messages will direct you to a spoofed or fictitious website (that looks a lot like the real thing) using masked links. The URL link you see will not take you to that destination, but will redirect to another URL disguised as part of a legitimate company s name. The disguised links and URLs are designed to lead you to believe you are going one place and end up someplace else where your sensitive information can then be collected by a suspicious source. These harmful s often include messages with a sense of urgency about the need for the recipient to provide information in order to correct a problem. Phishing s can also contain embedded forms that you fill out just as you would any other online form.

5 Phishing Facts for Marketers: Understanding the phishing factor impact on your programs. Page 5 Here are a few Phishing examples:

6 Phishing Facts for Marketers: Understanding the phishing factor impact on your programs. Page 6 In order to see a masked phishing URL link, you would need to hover (but not click) your mouse pointer over the link to reveal the true web address. If it looks nothing like the company s web address, it is suspicious. When designing , call-to-action words like click here, press here or act now are normally used and the web address is embedded in the html behind the text. Occasionally, it s a good idea to spell the website out in its entirety like this: Notice in the following example that resting (but not clicking) your mouse pointer on the link reveals the real web address, as shown in the box with the yellow background. The string of cryptic numbers looks nothing like the company's web address. This is a suspicious sign. Scammers also use web addresses that resemble the names of well-known companies but are slightly altered by adding, omitting, or transposing letters. For example, the address "" could appear instead as: Microsoft s term for this technique is called "typo-squatting" or "cybersquatting." Above sample source:

7 Phishing Facts for Marketers: Understanding the phishing factor impact on your programs. Page 7 When testing your next campaign, the client will review the text within the creative and identify if the link destination is the same as the link text. If it matches, your will pass the phishing test. THE TRACKING DILEMMA Campaign tracking provides marketers vital statistics that allow them to enhance and analyze campaign performance. It s a key tactic, but one that must be carefully executed so as to not appear as a phishing scam. So what happens when you send your message out with active link tracking? When you send the message with link tracking enabled, the URL is replaced with a tracking link that reports back to your deployment system to track click activity and then it forwards on to the destination site. For example, a link within an would look like it was going to but it would actually pass through your tracking system and apply a new tacking URL link that might look like this This allows the deployment system to report specifically how many clicks the link had and which recipients clicked before forwarding on to the final destination page. Even though the recipient that clicks will land on the correct destination page, the client sees that the link is actually pointing the recipient to go somewhere else. Due to the discrepancy of the two links (visually in the creative and behind the scenes in the html source code, the client believes you are phishing!

8 Phishing Facts for Marketers: Understanding the phishing factor impact on your programs. Page 8 WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? The ever changing landscape is constantly evolving, but the current solutions to overcome phishing filters are not very complicated and can be easily implemented into your next campaigns. Follow Marketing Best Practices: Phishing messages often have poor grammar, misspellings and weak HTML coding. By following best practices for both response and deliverability, not only will you increase the chance that your messages will reach the inbox, but your customers will more easily be able to differentiate between your messages and those of a scam . Overcoming the Filters: Filters are set to search out and compare apples to apples or in the case of 'phishing', they search out the prefix to confirm it is a URL, and then further compare URL to URL. If both URLs are different, your may be flagged as phishing. So the solution is to simply omit the prefix ( or www. or both on the URL link spelled out in the text of your . OR, use linkable text phrases like ( click here, more info ) Omitting the or the www. from linkable text within an will not hinder the functionality of the link. You just need to be sure you DO leave the correct URL destination within the source code HTML programming on the back-end. Your programmer can assist with using text based hyperlinks to help prevent your next from being the next catch for phishing filters. Consistency: Be consistent with the look and feel of your programs. Once you land a prospect, subsequent communications should give subscribers tips on recognizing a forgery. You ll then want to educate your subscribers on how to identify a legitimate from you. Highlight any

9 Phishing Facts for Marketers: Understanding the phishing factor impact on your programs. Page 9 unique features. Tell them you never ask for account information in an , etc. which will help protect your customers and your brand. CONCLUSION Understanding the phishing factors and their impact on your programs will help you plan and redefine campaigns so that your legitimate e-marketing messages are not flagged or blocked for phishing. Implementing these techniques and factoring in all the risks also work to protect your brand in the mind of the consumer. Consistent campaigns that follow the outlined solutions, from tracking to best practices, are much more likely to land in the inbox and ultimately improve performance metrics. It also allows marketers to continue improving their returns on investment, one launch at a time. For more information, contact V12 Group at or visit us online at About V12 Group Utilizing a highly respected data repository, V12 Group delivers relevant on-line and off-line direct marketing communications that improve campaign performance and return on marketing investment. V12 Group specializes in providing: Marketing and Creative and Design; Consumer, Business and Mobile Databases; Data Appending and Licensing; Modeling and Analytics; and Online Audience Targeting to a wide range of industries and clients.

10 Phishing Facts for Marketers: Understanding the phishing factor impact on your programs. Page AntiPhishing WorkGroup, Global Phishing Survey: Trends and Domain Name Use in 2H2009; 2. Phishing Attacks Increase 27% in 2010, RSA Monthly Online Fraud Report, January Cloudmark, 4. Return Path, The Anti-Phishing/Anti-Spoofing Guide, 2011

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