You know you’re on the up-and-up, and that your email messages contain legitimate offers for actual products or services. Unfortunately, though, you’re often sharing inbox space with fraudulent messages that claim to come from popular retailers and banks. Those emails are, in fact, nothing more than phishing scams designed to obtain the personal information crooks need for identity theft. Making everything more complicated, phishers have become more sophisticated over the last few years, swiping graphics taken from actual websites and spoofing URLs that appear legitimate.

Because your more savvy customers will regard any out-of-the-ordinary message with added skepticism, it’s important to avoid anything that might raise a red flag in their minds. Microsoft’s primer on phishing is a great way to identify elements that will make them nervous:

  • Requests for the verification of personal information.
  • Alerts that an account will be closed unless a customer responds within a certain timeframe.
  • Salutations like Dear Valued Customer. “Phishing e-mail messages are usually sent out in bulk and often do not contain [a] first or last name,” notes Microsoft.
  • Copy like Click the link below to gain access to your account, particularly if placing the pointer on a link reveals a different address than the one displayed.

Be trustworthy. Learn what puts your customers on guard, and use that information to design emails that heighten their trust.

Source: Microsoft.