While companies may have spam filters and antivirus software, spam and phishing emails can still slip through employee inboxes. Email recipients are the most critical element in preventing an attack. Here are some tips on how to identify the authenticity of a questionable email.
Incorrect Grammar/Spelling/Text Body
Many phishing emails contain misspellings. Some of these messages have been poorly translated from other languages. Additionally, you will want to pay attention if the time or date appears in the message body of an email. If the email contains the date format of DD/MM/YY, 24-hour time or coordinated universal time (UTC,) it’s likely that the email’s point of origin generated outside of the United States.
Email Format/Absence of Logos/Plain Text Email
Most legitimate messages will be written with HTML. It should be a mix of text and images. A poorly constructed phishing email may show an absence of images. This includes the lack of the company’s logo. If the body of an email is only an image as text, it’s possible that it is illegitimate. Outlook blocks showing images by default. If the email is all plain text and looks different than what you’re used to seeing from a frequent sender, you may want to contact the sender directly in a new email or phone call.
Urgent Request for Personal Information
One tactic that is commonly used by hackers is to alert you that you must provide and/or update your personal information about an account (e.g., Social Security number, bank account details, account password). Phishers will use this tactic to drive urgency for someone to click on a malicious URL or download an attachment aiming to infect the user’s computer or steal their information.
High-risk attachments file types include: .exe, .scr, .zip, .com and .bat. Spam filters will generally do a good job of quarantining those formats. Most companies commonly send and receive .zip, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx and .pdf. However, a malicious sender can implant devious code in those formats as well. Once the attachment is opened, the computer is already compromised. Take caution if you have sent an email that has an attachment and the sender is questionable. You will want to verify the legitimacy of the email first. Next, you will want to examine the context of why the attachment is being sent.
Links in the Email
A common practice is to avoid blindly clicking on links in emails. Outlook allows you to hover over a link before clicking on it. If the link in the body of the email is different than what Outlook hovered preview reports, it is not legitimate. Even if it seems legitimate, open a new browser window and type the URL directly into the address bar. If you’ve clicked on a link, a phishing website will look identical to the original. However, your system may already be compromised. If you’re work email is connected to your phone, you will want to take extra precaution.
Use Work Email for Work Purposes Only
Employees should avoid using their work email address for personal signups. These include social media websites or customer loyalty/ reward programs.
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If you’ve decided to invest and have finally found your ideal home, it’s probably an exciting time for you and your family. But before the deal is sealed, there will be a closing meeting so that all of the loose ends can be tied up. If you want to be ready for closing and are curious what the final meeting will entail, here are a few things to be prepared for.
The Last Walk Through
The initial home inspection may have already occurred prior to your closing meeting, but a final walk through should also be granted in the event that anything has happened to the house since it occurred. If problems have been made note of and a price or repair has been negotiated, you won’t need to worry, but the final walk through is a good opportunity to cover off any additional maintenance issues.
Discussion Of The Details
It’s a good idea to bring any paperwork you have regarding your mortgage along to the closing meeting as this will enable you to follow up on any outstanding questions and go through the specifics of the home sale. In all likelihood, you’ll be going through items like the closing costs, escrow payments, the settlement costs related to the home sale and the deed of trust to secure your mortgage, so ensure you understand all of the documents and are prepared to sign on the dotted line.
All The Appropriate Parties
You may expect the closing meeting to be rather informal after the offer has been accepted, but there are many parties that will be present in order to transfer the ownership of your new home. In addition to the home seller, yourself and your respective real estate agents, there will also be any attorneys present, a closing agent, and the lender. While it can be overwhelming to have so many people present, it is generally a formality so that the proceedings can take place without a hitch.
If you’ve determined that the home you’ve made an offer on is right for you, the closing meeting will likely be a seamless experience. However, it’s important to ensure you’ve done your final walk through and looked over all the applicable documents to avoid any issues related to the purchase of your home.
It may seem like the hard part is over once you’ve received a few offers on your home and are preparing for the negotiation process. Unfortunately, anything can happen until the papers and signed and this means that potential homebuyers can back out. If you’re dealing with a wavering bidder and are wondering how you can win them back, here are some reasons they might withdraw and how you may be able to win them over.
The Price Is Too High
It’s possible that when it comes to negotiating, many interested parties will offer to put down a little more than they otherwise would have; however, when it comes to sealing the deal, they may realize the price is a little higher than what they wanted to spend. Instead of letting the negotiations fall through, consider lowering your price slightly to give the potential homebuyer a hook. You don’t have to lower your price by a significant margin, but it will let them know that you’re still interested in selling to them.
An Unresponsive Negotiation
The power may be in your hands when someone is interested in your home, but it’s still very important to stay responsive so that you can ensure a potential homebuyer won’t lose interest. If you may have rubbed someone the wrong way with a slow response time, ensure that you reach out and keep them aware of the process and your timeline. It may seem like a small gesture, but it means a lot to someone who is interested in your home and may be working under a time crunch.
Still Not Convinced?
There are a variety of reasons that a homebuyer may withdraw from negotiations, whether it’s the neighborhood or too much home or they’ve found a better deal. But, if you’re really interested in the offer you’ve received, you may want to consider offering a little extra in order to win them back. Whether you decide to pay their closing costs or provide a closer move-in date, there are plenty of little things you can do that will make them re-consider their options.
There are many reasons that a buyer might withdraw their offer on your home, but by being communicative and offering some extras you may be able to re-negotiate a deal. If you’re currently preparing to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.
Last week’s economic data included releases on construction spending and labor-related reports including ADP Payrolls, Non-Farm Payrolls, national unemployment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
Construction Spending Increases in February
February construction spending grew by 0.80 percent from January’s reading of -0.50 percent. Analysts expected a reading of + 1.00 percent. Housing industry pros and analysts continue monitoring construction spending for indications of future construction projects. Construction spending was boosted by unseasonably warm weather in regions typically subject to cold winter climates.
U.S. homes are in high demand despite rapidly rising home prices due to short supplies of available homes; industry leaders contend that building more homes is the only remedy for the imbalance between would-be home buyers and low inventories of homes for sale. Home builders repeatedly cite shortages of buildable lots and skilled labor as obstacles to building more homes.
Job Growth Dips as New Jobless Claims and Unemployment Rate Falls
ADP reported that 263,000 private-sector jobs were created in March as compared to revised readings of 245,000 jobs created in February and expectations of 170,000 jobs created in March Private-sector employers were encouraged by potential reductions in taxes, regulations, infrastructure and improvements.
Non-farm payrolls dropped significantly in March; the Commerce Department reported only 98,000 new public and private sector jobs added in March as compared to expectations of 185,000 jobs added and 219,000 public and private-sector jobs added in February.
Economists said that rapid growth of jobs seen in the last few years was not sustainable and cited severe reductions in retail jobs as contributing to the drop in the Non-farm payrolls reading for March. The steep drop in job creation could cause the Federal Reserve to hold off on raising the federal funds rate in June, but this is far from certain depending on economic readings for April and May.
National unemployment fell to 4.50 percent in March against expectations of 4.70 percent and February’s reading of 4.70 percent
New jobless claims fell to 234,000 claims as compared to expectations of 251,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 259,000 claims. Lower initial jobless claims despite the steep drop in job growth suggests that workers are leaving the workforce and are ineligible to file new claims or that the drop in jobs growth was a “correction” and future jobs growth reports may not show such sharp adjustments.
Mortgage Rates Mixed
Rates for fixed-rate mortgages were lower last week. Freddie Mac reported that average rates for fixed rate mortgages fell; the average rate for a 30-year mortgage was four basis points lower at 4.20 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgaged dropped three basis points to 3.36 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage ticked up by one basis point to an average of 3.19 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on inflation, core inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates will also be released.
It’s a very exciting time for most parents when their kids begin to crawl, but it can also be much more difficult to watch over your child and ensure their safety. If your child is starting to get along on their own and you’re preparing to baby proof, here are the main areas and items you’ll want to watch out for.
Clearing Away The Crib
There’s no place your child is going to spend more time, so ensure that there are no toys left in their crib when they’re going to sleep. You’ll also want to stay away from fluffy blankets that can smother their breathing. It’s entirely likely that you’ll have a lot of stuff to store for your baby, but ensure there are no heavy pieces of furniture in the room that they will be able to pull over or move.
In The Bathroom
It goes without saying that you should never leave a baby in the bathtub alone, but there are other things to do as soon as they become mobile. In addition to non-slip mats for the tub and the area outside of the tub, you may also want to invest in soft covers for the knobs and the spout on the bathtub. It’s also good to keep any hazardous cleaning products out of reach.
Care In The Kitchen
Your baby is likely to wreak havoc on all of the door handles they can, so ensure that you have cabinets that don’t close automatically and a latch for your oven door. If you happen to be cooking in the kitchen when your baby is about, ensure that all pot handles are turned in and all cooking items are kept away from the edges of the counter.
Around The House
Your quickly crawling child will be able to find many hazards if they move fast, so ensure you’ve covered up any electrical outlets or cords that can be pulled out. If there are sharp edges your infant can reach, put safety guards on them to protect your baby’s head. Safety gates should also be used at the top and bottom of stairs to avoid any falls.
Most parents get pretty enthusiastic about the idea of their baby starting to crawl, but it’s important to be prepared for that time by baby proofing your home. If you’re currently getting ready to buy a home for your growing family, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.
The best addition to many a family is the beloved pet, but beyond the regular treats and pillows, there are plenty of ways to spoil your pet and let them know how much you love them. If you’re looking for some neat concepts for your favorite pooch, here are some unique ideas you may want to try out.
A Relaxing, Personal Place
Many animals will gravitate towards your new couch, but by giving them their own special spot, you can make them happy and keep your living room looking great at the same time. Instead of a second-hand pillow, buy them their very own bed for their very own corner of the house so they can feel right at home.
Make It Organized
It’s quite likely that your pet will not be cleaning up after themselves, but by creating a bookshelf or cabinet for all of their toys and treats, you can be sure they’ll be right at home. It’s not only good for organization, it will be easy to find everything if it’s all in one place.
Install A Pet Door
Most pets long for the freedom of the outdoors, so a pet door can be one of the best investments in the happiness of your pet. While it may not necessarily appeal to potential homebuyers who are pet-free, it may be an added benefit for those who think of their four-legged friends first.
A Doggie Dream Home
The expression “in the doghouse” may have a negative connotation, but your dog’s backyard home doesn’t have to be dreadful. Instead of something subpar, build your own doghouse from scratch and paint it in bright colors so that it can be popular with your dog and aesthetically appealing too!
A Canine Course
There are few things a dog likes to do more than run, so instead of leaving them out in the backyard on their lonesome, build them their very own doggy course. Whether you want to add in a small slide, a slippery surface or a hoop for jumping, there are plenty of ways to keep your dog active, even in the backyard.
There’s no doubt that your pet is one of the happiest members of the family, but there are things you can do to make your four-legged friend even more content. If you’re currently doing some upgrades and preparing to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.