Could someone out there be faking emails from your company domain for nefarious purposes?

“When people feel insecure about something, they look around for validation. Show them that other people trust you.” – Francisco Rosales

Faking emails with malicious intentions is more common than you might think. Here’s why that’s bad for business – and how DMARC email authentication can help.

Read on to discover:

  • What is DMARC?
  • How Does it Work?
  • Why Would You Want it?

Let’s dive in.

Do you ever receive emails that are clearly spam, but appear to be sent from an email address linked to a genuine, above-the-board company? 

This is known as email spoofing. Furthermore, in the vast majority of cases, the sender has not hacked into the sender’s email; rather, they have forged the email header in such a way that it seems to be coming from somewhere else. 

Since it’s easily achieved and email inboxes have a hard time distinguishing between real and spoofed emails, this is a very popular tactic used by scammers, especially for phishing attempts. 

Broadly speaking, there are two spoofing approaches used by scammers:

  1. The scammer tries to impersonate a well-known brand, often a bank or online payments company, by imitating its branding. The idea is that the recipient is tricked into thinking the real company is contacting them and hands over sensitive personal data or passwords that allow their accounts to be compromised.
  2. The scammer spoofs a random email address that has a better sender reputation than their own to help them bypass spam filters. The scammer doesn’t care whose email address it is provided that the email gets through, improving its chance of getting through and the recipient clicking a malicious link. 

For obvious reasons, you generally only need to worry about the first one happening to you if your company is very well-known. However, the second type of spoofing can happen to anyone, no matter the type or size of your business. However, if someone does spoof your email address, this can lead to you getting blacklisted by spam filters, undermining your email campaigns… and you might never even know why.

What Is DMARC Email Authentication?

Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) aims to tackle this problem, protecting both senders and recipients from spoofing. It provides a way to tell whether any given email is genuinely from the sender it claims to be from. And, also, what to do if it isn’t. 

In simple terms, DMARC creates better ways for email senders and receivers to share information about the emails moving between them, boosting email authentication processes. Additionally, it gives the real domain owner a way to request that spam filters reject spoofed emails which use their domain name.

This makes it far more straightforward to detect spam and phishing emails and block them from inboxes accordingly while avoiding damage to the real companies that have been spoofed. 

How Does it Work?

DMARC is an authentication, policy and reporting protocol that figures out whether an email message is authentic by building on DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). And, also, the Sender Policy Framework (SPF). 

Your DMARC record is published with your DNS records. It instructs the receiving server not to accept an email if it fails DKIM and SPF (among other checks). All the leading ISPs have already introduced DMARC checks on their receiving servers; and, it’s moving closer to becoming the industry standard.

Why Should You Use DMARC Email Authentication?

As we talked about above, by publishing a DMARC record, you stop people from spoofing emails from your domain. It’s a great way to improve trust in your brand. Just the act of publishing the DMARC record may have an immediate positive impact on your sender reputation.

On a larger scale, DMARC records are part of an effort to clean up fraudulent practices in the industry. And, also make email communication as a whole more trustworthy and secure. That can only be good for companies looking to grow their lists; and, build an affinity with their customers via email. 

Don’t get left behind. If you don’t already have a DMARC policy in place, make sure you bring your domain’s emails up to speed. Fast.

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