Wondering if that email in your inbox is a legitimate request for business? Here are some steps that I use to research if an email from a company is legitimate.
- Look at the original email – check the properties (usually a right click) of the From address to make sure that it matches what appears as a link – make sure the domain matches the company URL.
- Hover over any links in the email to see if the URL behind the link matches what is highlighted.
- If there is a phone number in the email, paste it in to Google or Bing or Yahoo as a search.
- Search for the company website using Google or another search engine. Look at the URL attached to the search results and check for inconsistencies with the email.
- Check LinkedIn for principles named in the email.
- For international companies, look for North American distribution of the product. If there is no Canadian distribution, it is less likely that there would be a claim in our jurisdiction.
- Check the Canadian Importers Database http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cid-dic.nsf/eng/home to see if a product is listed in the email and there is no apparent distributor in Canada. This database can be searched by product.
- Check the FBI eScams page http://www.fbi.gov/cyberinvest/escams.htm or the RCMP reporting Economic Crime On-Line website https://www.recol.ca/partnerspage.aspx for more information about email phishing.
- Check Dan Pinnington’s Avoid a Claim Blog for news of recent scams directed specifically at lawyers and law firms.
- Follow your law society Client Identification and Verification guidelines.