How do you spot an email scam?
Why are they so prevalent?
These days there are billions of emails sent on a daily basis. If you try to send scam messages through social media, there is a very high chance that, with the Social Media platforms and their sophisticated algortithms, you will be caught and blocked, possibly completely banned from using that platform.
But with email, many, if not most of the Email Service Providers try very hard with Spam or Junk filters to filter out possible scam traffic but it is a very hard task, as they do not want to overly tax you by putting every possible dodgy email into your Junk Mail folder and a lot of Spam is fairly harmless, so you can't block everything
I set my Junk mail settings pretty high and go in there pretty regularly, and I still find a fair bit of mail that I am happy to have in my Inbox. There is also a lot of nuisance mail and probably some Spam mail, but guess what, the Scam Mail still manages to get through into my Inbox on a regular basis.
So, what to do?
1. NEVER, EVER click a link in an email if you are not certain it is totally safe. That is the quickest way to let viruses, trojans, and other nasties onto your hard drive, and worse still, any network that you are hooked into, and to give scammers your personal details.
2. Check the email address of the SENDER - I get emails all the time with a Bank Logo on it or a PAYPAL logo, and these look real, and authentic. So much so, that many people click away with blind trust, only to find that they have, again opened themselves up to a scammer. Always take a second to check where it came from.
3. At the moment, in my country, there are emails and fake phone calls circulating purporting to be from the Australia Federal Police, telling you that you are about to be prosecuted for tax evasion, and probably many more like them.
What do you do?
1. Always check the sender email address, because most of the time they don't even bother to disguise them.
2. For example, If you get a dodgy email from the Australian Tax Office and the sender is something like" firstname.lastname@example.org" - you can be fairly certain it's not coming from any government department. It is a simple shift of your eyes to the "From" field and will cost you nothing, but a second of your time.
3. HANG UP THE PHONE - a real government department is not going to ring you. You would most likely receive formal mail from them, probably followed by a proper Court summons.
4. If in doubt take their number and tell them that you will call them back.
5. Ask them what department they work for and the name of their supervisor and ask for their switch number - they will almost certainly hang up on you at that point.
6. Google the phone number - there are a lot of sites out there now where you can report scam calls and the chances are they have already been reported. The comforting thing is reading the comments to see that the people reporting the calls have had the same experience that you have had. Just type the number with the area code into your address bar and you will be amazed more often than you think.
7. Watch Out for Nigerian Scams - these are getting through less frequently, these days, but the classic is where some "poor" African lady tells you that she has found a secret stash of $20 million from her late husband's will, or a public servant has uncovered a stash of bribe money and needs your help to move it out of the country, in return for which you will earn 5% commission - I am not kidding, in years gone by many people have been ripped off for millions on this one and worse, been killed or injured - if you don't believe me just google it or go to Wikipedia.
WHAT IS RULE NUMBER ONE?
.. in fact, rules 2 and beyond?
"IF IT APPEARS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS.."
Here is some more courtesy of ScamWatch.....
How to spot a fake
Documents are easily faked. Some will look just like the real thing but others might have warning signs, such as:
Scammers will often try to take advantage when you’re feeling vulnerable and try to extract more money from you through a follow up scam.
Some common follow up scams include:
Have you had a bad experience with a scam or a virus?
Let us have your comments below with any other tips or experiences.