Tips for recognizing a scam (phishing) email

This may be just a little off topic for a social media topic, but I thought it was worth sharing.

Here is an email that landed in my inbox this morning. I thought it was worth taking a look at it. Note that I decided against downloading the pictures for obvious reason, though I suspect it was just a copy and pasted Westpac logo.


This clearly IS a spam (spoof is a very weird word) or phishing email in spite of their attempt to reassure you otherwise. Let’s dissect it and take a look at why that is.

  1. Firstly, and most obviously for me, I don’t have a Westpac account. If you have a Westpac account this does not apply, but do keep in mind that no bank will ask you to confirm your account details this way.
  2. Dear – (This was my actual email address but you did not need to know that) Think about this for a minute. Has any bank correspondence you received been addressed this way? In spite of their reassurance, I don’t believe a bank would ever address you by your email, because they would have your actual name and not just your email address, as is the case with the phishing post.
  3.  Before clicking on any link, hover over it with the cursor to reveal what the target web page is. In the case of the “Confirm your account” link, you will see a link that is clearly unrelated to Westpac in any way. I know that Microsoft Outlook has the ability to reveal target urls by hovering over links, and I am sure other email apps would as well.
  4. More on target links – Very interestingly, hovering over the other links (“Learn more about phishing”, “Where to Shop” (Really!! Why would this be on a bank email of this nature?), “How Westpac works” (Again, can you imagine this??), “Recover your Password or Email”, “Contact Us” and “terms and conditions” all appear to point to PayPal links. They have probably captured the footer from a PayPal email and updated some text to read “Westpac” instead of “PayPal” and did not bother to change the links.
  5. Take a look at the ‘copyright text’. Does it make sense as a copyright notice from Westpac? Apart from the weird characters (Â and ¢ for example) that are common in copying and pasting where source and target font types don’t match, does the copyright text make sense for a bank? Why is it talking about something not requiring the “Monetary Authority of Singapore”? Any text that a bank would use in such cases would be relevant to the situation and properly formatted.
  6. On a more obscure note, if I were to ask those who are familiar with Westpac, whether you have an account or not, what colour do you associate with Westpac? I am sure the answer would be red, right? On its own, this fact is not enough to rule the email out, but given the other issues, I would say it backs it up if nothing else.

There may be other things, and feel free to point them out. It is always worth considering whether something is right before clicking on the link.


Social Media – a non-commercial view

It seems that these days we are hearing more and more of how businesses need to be more serious about establishing a presence in the world of Social Media. We talk of how they need to engage with their customers on the various platforms. This is true, but just for a moment let’s take a step back and look at what I find to be three very important reasons for my own journey in to the Social Media world which others may relate to.

My Three Pillars

I find I use Social media for one of the following three reasons:

  1. Encouragement
  2. Knowledge sharing/gaining
  3. Seeking/giving Assistance

Nothing too earth shattering there but let’s take a little deeper look anyway.


Encouragement to me represents a key character trait. It is something that we should all do often and something I find I do not do nearly often enough. When talking about encouragement, I like to use a definition based on the components:

en – to cause to be in

courage – the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face
difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear

So, armed with this definition, we see that when we encourage we cause someone to be in the quality of mind or spirit that enables them to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear. Looking at it this way adds a whole new dimension to the word. When I look back at my interactions here in the social landscape, I surely have encountered times when I have received critical encouragement at just the right time and I hope that I have been able to provide some of the same.

Knowledge Sharing/Gaining

This is a fairly straightforward one that I think needs little discussion. There is a wealth of information shared on the social platforms constantly and I enjoy learning and sharing information that I find interesting or that may be useful to others. I have learned much from my journeying in the Social Media world.

Seeking/Giving Assistance

I have often turned to my network contacts here in the Social Media world when I have needed assistance with something, from potential job opportunities to things perhaps a little more insignificant, like how to remove a particular stain out of carpet. Occasionally I find great enjoyment from helping others  with similar things. To me, to serve brings the most fulfillment and so to be able to help others helps in this respect.

Just in Closing

I hope that gives a little insight in to my approach to Social Media. I know, it is hardly rocket science but I hope it helps to give a filter for what I will share in future posts. I will end with one of my favourite quotes, from Marie Curie:


Until next time, collaborate and connect 🙂