Most of us know not to respond to emails from a Nigerian prince looking to enter a business proposition but email scams have come a long way from when that one started surfacing.
It’s difficult to see through some of the latest attempts to swindle and trick you out of your hard-earned money.
We’ve got five email scams for you to beware of and tips on how to spot one in your inbox.
1. Phishing Sites
Phishing site emails are hard to spot because they look legit. Many of these appear to be from a bank, credit card, or e-commerce website requesting you click a link to sign-in and verify your information. Some of these will make it look like there has been a major purchase, so you feel compelled to check it out just in case it is legit.
While the email looks like it is from a company or organization, you deal with the link goes to a fake site. This site will look practically identical to the real business and will have a sign-in page that records your attempts to access your account.
This allows the criminal to go to the real company website and use your log-in information to access your account and steal your money or change your password so you are now locked out.
2. Delivery Pending
Another email scam that seems rampant right now involves packages that require delivery. The email will either ask for a small delivery fee paid by a credit card or attempt to get personal information from you to steal your identity.
Do not give out personal information, especially if you do not recognize the sender and were not expecting a delivery. It is wise to verify the information with the company and the delivery courier through other means rather than clicking on a link within the email to do so.
3. Tax Refunds or Taxes Owed
The government is not texting you about taxes. Never give out personal information through email or unsolicited phone calls claiming to be from the government. If they are contacting you regarding your taxes, they will have your personal information already.
Always contact the government agency directly to verify it is one of their agents requesting the information. These types of email scams also include a phishing site link for you to click on.
4. Downloading Unknown Files
Any email that requires you to download an unknown file from an unknown sender should be considered suspicious. In fact, even if the person is on your contact list if you aren’t expecting a file from them, or the email seems off compared to your normal communication, hold off on downloading any files.
There are viruses and other harmful malware that can harm your computer just by being opened.
5. Blackmail Email Scams
A growing trend in email scams is one where the sender attempts to blackmail the recipient by stating they have video or images from their computer or webcam that would be embarrassing if made public.
These “final warning” blackmail emails are alarming but not real and should be ignored or reported if the email actually includes stills or video proof of their hacking into your computer.
While there are malware trojan viruses that can grant remote access to turn on your webcam, it is rare that this is the case and shouldn’t be suspected if the email is generic in nature.
Think Before You Click
If an offer sounds too good to be true or something seems off about the communication it’s better to be safe than sorry. Think before you click so that you aren’t taken in by the many email scams that are out there.
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