O2 has recently been forced to say sorry in the wake of another network problem which left some 10% of their 23 million customers without phone coverage.

Chief Executive Ronan Dunne said he was “embarrassed” by the glitch, which comes only months after a similar network failure, back in July of this year.

Personally I wasn’t effected by either problem, so I was surprised to see the following e-mail pop in in my inbox:

O2 phishing attempt - be warned
O2 phishing attempt – be warned (click to enlarge)

How to identify phishing

Whenever you receive an e-mail that asks you to log-in to a particular website, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

First of all, do you even have an account with this company? Until I migrated my e-mails to Google Apps I was forever receiving alerts related to accounts with companies (mostly banks) that I have never used. Whilst this may sound obvious I do know people who have tried to log-in anyway. You can guess what happens next: the people behind the phishing e-mail then try their username & password in related websites until they gain access.

Next up, is this e-mail going to the right address? Personally I use custom e-mail addresses for any service that I have to pay for, which adds an extra layer of security. All of my e-mails turn up in the same inbox so it isn’t as inconvenient as it may sound. In the case of O2, I use an e-mail address which reference mobile telephones (such as mymobilephone@smartergroup.biz) and this “message from O2” came to my main account so it was clearly a phishing attempt. You may not have the option to set custom e-mail addresses but still, consider whether or not the e-mail is coming into your work, personal or family inbox. Should it be there or somewhere else?

It’s worth looking at any addresses that are displayed in the e-mail, however you will probably find the “from” e-mail has been masked to look official. Similarly the web address you are being prompted to click on will be the same. However, if you hover your cursor over the link it’ll show the actual address.  In my case, and this applies to anyone using webmail, the actual link in the bottom left hand corner clearly has nothing to do with O2.

If you’re any any doubt, just go to the website directly and log-in manually. Still in doubt? Get in touch with customer services. It’s better to be on the safe side!

Published by Adam Arnold

Adam Arnold is a 20(ish), father & founder of the Smarter Group; a member of CTVF500; Entrepreneur in Residence @ Wolves Uni; SPEED+ Mentor & an #sbs winner.

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