Scams are prevalent these days,… particularly email scams. There are two primary goals for scammers: to trick you into providing personal information or to infect your computer with a virus. These scams can create massive headaches, put your identity at risk, and/or jeopardize your hard earned savings. Thus, it’s extremely important to learn how to identify and avoid them. Here are 3 ways to avoid email scams.
Never Act on Emails from Unknown Parties
If you receive an unexpected email with a link or attachment, do not immediately open or click on it. This is the best way to avoid email scams. If you don’t recognize the name or company from which it was sent, you should always question whether it’s legitimate. For instance, we’ve seen emails claim to be from the IRS, USPS, etc. However, none of those entities would have our email address to begin with. Additionally, sometimes an email appears to come from someone you know, but their account was hacked or the sender is spoofing their address.
Never Provide Any Personal or Account Information
As a general rule, do not provide any personal information in emails or through a link within an email. Scammers will often make emails appear to be from your bank, email provider, or other known company. They may contain a warning that your account is expiring, you have something to claim, or something similar. The site you are sent to may even look legitimate, but it’s really a fake duplicate made to trick you into providing your login information. To protect yourself, you should avoid clicking on links in emails. Instead, visit the website directly using your web browser. This is a critical practice to avoid email scams.
Know How to Spot Red Flags
Most scam emails have certain common characteristics. By knowing what these are, you better avoid email scams. Here are some that we commonly come across:
- The sender’s email address does not match the company’s name.
- The sender’s email address is odd, with numbers and other unusual characters.
- The subject line contains “re:” making it appear as a reply, but you never emailed that person to begin with.
- The email contains weird language and typos (as if someone used an automated translation tool).
- The email contains no formal signature, yet it appears to come from a formal company.
- Links in the email have a strange website address.
- The email contains scare tactics.
- You do not recall the product or service referenced in the email.
Summary of Ways to Avoid Email Scams
You can never be too cautious nowadays. Knowing how to avoid email scams is a necessity. We hope that these tips above will help protect your computer, identity, and savings!