This quick tip covers the pros and cons of listing your email address or team email addresses on your website. This is particularly relevant for professional advisers who are in trusted positions, such as financial advisers, accountants, mortgage brokers, solicitors, and so on.
In this article we’ll be covering:
- Why it’s typically a bad idea
- Alternative options for having your emails on your website
- Other non-technical tips to reduce scammage
Why it’s typically a bad idea
For a long time, the primary concern with listing your email on your website was that you would be opening yourself up to being spammed. There were pros and cons to this, and for many smaller businesses the feeling was a little spam was a small price to pay for presenting as being accessible and for prospective clients to know they could get a direct line to the person they needed.
However, this has flipped to be more malicious in recent years as concerns aren’t around spam, they’re around scams.
By listing your email addresses on your website, you’re declaring what your email address is to anyone considering impersonating you. Knowing your email format is <First name>.<Last name>@<domain>.com.au takes the guesswork out of pretending to be you. As trusted advisers, this isn’t acceptable in this day and age.
This is particularly dangerous given how easy email is to impersonate (see Email spoofing) and given our clients would often receive instructions on how to transfer funds via email.
Alternative options for having your emails on your website
Any modern website should have some means of communicating with your business, typically through some kind of contact form. In most cases, this is all you need.
In a pinch, you could even build these out per team member if it were essential visitors felt they could make contact directly. This might be relevant where inbound referrals would often be to an individual and not the broader business. However, in these cases, we prefer using a scheduling tool (eg Calendly) to book a chat rather than send a message.
If for some reason an email address is important to keep on your contact page or elsewhere for ease of reference, make it an inbound-only email address. It can auto-forward wherever you like once received, but make it an address that nobody would expect to receive an email from.
For items where you will have an email address that is unavoidable, such as within a Complaints Policy, that should be an email address that would never send an email to a client. Examples could be complaints@, compliance@, or even contactus@ could work for these.
Three simple tips to reduce scammage
Your client being scammed is bad, your client being scammed from your email address would be much worse. Whilst there are technical things you can do (ask your IT provider about ensuring your DMARC policy is live and effective), there are also several simple and effective non-technical steps you can take.
In the event your email is spoofed or even hacked, these will help your clients to identify something suspicious or be better trained to take the right action if they are uncertain. These include:
- Having a professional and sharp email signature that you and your team consistently use (or two if you want a simpler alternative for replies/mobile use);
- Encouraging clients to call the office to confirm the details whenever you instruct them about sensitive steps such as a transfer of funds;
- Regularly communicating to clients that you will never ask for login details to their bank account, or anything else that you know you wouldn’t do but your clients might not be aware of. This is a great option for your email signature.
Example: We will never ask for your banking or other financial institution login details<if your firm is using or planning on using a scraping tool via a client portal>via phone or email<end>. If you have any concerns that a request may not be genuine, please phone us immediately.
We’d consider these to be absolute no-brainers, as these actions are either best practice for branding, or help your clients remain aware across all their financial affairs, something a trusted adviser should consider important.
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