Digital Defense: KFBK Scam Report--Two letters

When we pop open an email there are names, dates, links, phone numbers, and other emails.

Doug Fodeman with says if you are checking emails and clicking links within them you should be watching for just two letters in the alphabet.

Fodeman says without knowing these two letters and what they mean, you are easily deceived and when you open an email or link to websites on the internet, you open the door to scams, fraudsters and malware.

In an email the two letters you should care about are found in the ‘from’ address. For example, you might see from Look at the last two letters. They tell you the email is from Brazil not Amazon. 

Identify whether links are fraudulent, too. Mouse over a link in an email. Look at the left corner of your screen. Fodeman says finding the two letters in a link may not be as easy as in an email but once you identify them, you may realize you might be doing business with a fraud in another country.

“Look carefully at the letters before the first single forward slash in a web address. So it comes after http:// and before the first forward slash. If you see two letters like .cn then that tells you that link sends you to a different country and a web server in that country. And, .cn isn’t always obvious. It doesn’t mean Canada. It means China,” explained Fodeman. 

Again, this is while you are hovering over a link and the address is displayed in the bottom left corner of your screen. This is not in the web address bar which can display exactly what a fraud wants you to see. 

If you see .ru you are in Russia, .de you are doing business in Germany, .pw points to services in Palau, an archipelago of 500+ islands in Micronesia. 

Fodeman gives the tax season as an example. 

“Tax scam emails come where it looks like you are asked to visit a tax service and use their services. You go check them out and they’re located here in the U.S., but in fact, if you look at the website, the domain of the website is not a .com but it may be a .co and that is actually showing you you are a visiting a website in Columbia not in the U.S.,” said Fodeman.

Fodeman says once you have located the two letters in an email or link, you can easily check two letter country codes on Wikipedia.


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