How To Not Get Hacked From Scams Coming Through Your Website Contact Form [Podcast]
WARNING: If you have a website, there's a strong chance that you're going to get an email through your website contact form that has a link that if you click on it could install malware on your phone or your computer, and you could get hacked. So watch today's video to see how to prevent this from happening to you. My name's Jack Jostes and welcome to The Landscaper’s Guide to Modern Sales and Marketing.
This show is normally all about attracting the right leads through digital marketing so that way you can increase your profit and enjoy a better lifestyle. Now, part of sales and marketing in today's day and age is having a robust website. And unfortunately there are skeezy, just terrible people out there who try and take advantage of small business owners like you by sending what looks like a real email, like a real lead coming through your website, claiming that you're using copyrighted photographs, which will probably scare you if you're a landscaper or remodeler. So be sure to watch this one or at least listen to it to prevent this from happening to you.
This could save you a lot of time, headache, and money.
If you run a website, chances are you're going to get people filling out the form on your website, trying to get you to do something that might cause malware, or a virus, or install a Trojan or something terrible on your website. I'm going to share with you a real email that I got from a client. I've actually gotten it from several clients who get this message and they get spooked for good reason. These messages are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and I'm going to help you understand how to identify them and how to not get hacked or have anything bad happen.
This is the email that my client got through their own website from the contact form. So thinking it's a lead. It says it's from Melissa. It has a phone number. The email address is Melissaphotographer700@yahoo.com. Kind of believable. It says:
Details To Look Out For In Suspicious Scam Emails
They actually included my client's domain name, which makes it personalized. Then it includes this link to something really creepy here, sites.google/site. And then it's a Google Drive. It's a link to a file that you could download.
Whoa. Okay, so clearly, someone who speaks English and can write in English decently wrote this email. Which is what makes it so terrifying, because normally, you get these messages and they're clearly from people who don't know what they're talking about.
The other thing that makes this a good ‘bad’ email, if you will, or it makes the writing of this persuasive, rather, is they've included your domain name. So it looks like they're doing that. And if you run a landscaping company or a remodeling company or any business that has a lot of photos, this would probably spook you.
I'll admit that I read this email, when my client forwarded it to me, on my phone. Initially, I was like, "No, I'm certain we have the copyright to all this stuff." And then when I saw that link to the file... that was when I had a feeling that this was malicious.
What To Do If You Suspect An Email Is A Malicious Scam
What I did and what I would recommend that you do if you ever get an email like this is:
1. Don't click on this link. Whatever you do, don't click on the link to the file, because that's how it then will download a program and install malware on your computer, which could spy on you or hack your computer or your files or different things. That's the real goal of this. So one, don't click on the link if you're getting an email that looks suspicious.
2. What I did was I just Googled this message. I just copy and pasted it into Google. That was when I was certain that it was what's called a ‘phishing’ email. Because I saw other people posting this and I saw her posting it as a comment on other websites like the elbertcountyrepublicans.com. Don't know who those guys are. But look, they're just displaying comments on their website without approving them. So that means anyone who sees this could click on that link. It's a mess.
It could be a malicious message that would download malware. I'm going to share an article here from zdnet.com about ‘What is malware? Everything you need to know about viruses, trojans and malicious software’.
Essentially, if you get an email like this, be very skeptical.
Don't click on any of the links.
Google it, and just be careful.
Another thing related to this kind of internet spam and hacking is Google is probably not ever going to call you. Okay? You might get calls saying, "Warning. Press one, because your Google listing is not verified and bad things will happen." Google is way too busy to care about you, frankly. They don't even make money from, at this time, using Google My Business. So they're not going to be calling you.
You've got to be careful. If you are working with Ramblin Jackson, feel free to forward this stuff to us. We'll take a look at it and likely tell you, "Hey, it's spam. Don't worry about it. Don't click on it."
Alright, well, hopefully you are now better prepared to prevent yourself from getting hacked from downloading malware and things. Unfortunately, there's not a lot that you can do to prevent this sort of thing. We do a lot of security maintenance at Ramblin Jackson to help prevent as much of this as possible. And this particular one looks like either an individual or a group of people is doing this, or they've programmed something that's doing it. The personalization of it, to include your domain name, is what makes it so tricky. In any case, be careful.
If you'd like to learn more fun things about how to generate leads, how to sell stuff, check out some of our other podcast episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify. We're basically on everywhere. On YouTube and at ramblinjackson.com/podcast.
Thanks so much for checking out today's episode. I'll talk to you next week.