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How to Better Avoid Email Scams

by Nancy Hightower - March 21, 2022

A person's email is important and private to them. Often times, people use their email to receive notifications about important things such as work related matters, family communication, or that bills are due. Whatever your use for email is, you want it to be a safe and secure way to communicate and handle your personal business. However, sometimes criminals use emails as a way to steal your personal information or even your money.

Phishing is a type of online scam that uses email as a way to steal sensitive information. These phishers, or scammers, can be very convincing, but there are ways to protect yourself from these criminals.

How to spot a phishing email:

1. Is the "From" contact a person or organization that you know? Don't respond or give any information to anyone that you don't know.

2. Check for incorrect grammar and spelling mistakes. Phishers will often use poor grammar and misspell words.

3. They use a vague, generic greeting such as "Valued customer" rather than your name.

4. They ask you to confirm personal information or send money.

5. Look at the signature at the end of the email. A lack of details about who sent the email could indicate a phisher trying to impersonate someone.

6. The email domain is spelled incorrect and/or does not match the email sender name.

7. Remember that just because you recognize a logo on an email, that doesn't mean the email came from that company. Anyone can save a logo and use it as an image in an email.

8. Offers that sound "too good to be true," usually are. If you receive an email with any kind of offer that seems unbelievable, don't believe it.

What should you do if you think you received a phishing email?

1. Call the supposed sender of the email to ask if they sent you anything. If not, don't reply to the email or open any attachments. If there is contact information on the email, do not use it. Try to search for the contact information of the company online instead so that you do not call the phisher.

2. Don't give out any personal information or send any money. Legitimate banks and other companies will not ask for your personal information via email.

3. If someone claims to be related to you and asks for money, call them instead of replying to the email. Don't send money or personal information to relatives via email either.

4. Never click on links or attachments you aren't sure of or aren't expecting. Links in phishing emails can lead you to fraudulent websites. Attachments in phishing emails can contain viruses that can compromise your personal information and your computer's security.

5. Delete the email so you don't accidentally click on it in the future.