The Internet is one of the most revolutionary creations in information technology. Businesses, students, doctors, teachers and many more, all benefit from the advantages of the world-wide web on a daily basis. Unfortunately (and just like anything else) where others earn an honest living and reputation, there will always be those who seek to take advantage of these. Internet scamming is becoming more an more popular as the days fly by and because of this, too many people are losing the confidence to use and trust the Internet.
The truth is that it’s actually incredibly easy to identify legitimate emails from the fraudulent emails (yes…really). All you need are just a few pieces of easy advice and you’ll never be caught by a scam again. Createclix offer this free of charge to all readers and all you have to do is simply read on…
Lets begin with the most common and simple of Internet scams:
How to Spot Email Scams:
Some can be ridiculously easy to spot while others will take an educated eye (and you’ll have that after reading this page and related posts). The most common and easy to spot are lottery email scams or other forms of competitions. Of course, if you have no recollection of ever entering such competitions then it’s easy to identify such email scams. But if you have and are unsure if you’ve really won anything, then we want to drum a simple bit of advice into you.
Lets say you’ve entered some competition and you’ve received an email notification, congratulating you on your huge win. First, check the name and details of the company that claim you’ve won. Match it to whatever companies you’ve entered competitions with and chances are they’ll be completely different. It’s a scam.
Popular Question: But what if the company DOES match or what if I can’t remember the details of the company?
Answer: That’s exactly what they’re aiming for. They want you to think that this really could be a real win. You start to think it must be too good to be true, but then keep thinking of what it would be like to miss such an opportunity if it really was you! Then you start to think you’d be stupid if you didn’t at least send your details back. STOP!
Immediately check how they address you (this is our GOLDEN RULE on how to avoid email scams). If they are legitimate and if you really have won, they’ll address you by BOTH your first AND last name. If they don’t and just use phrases like “Dear Winner” or “Dear Sir/Madam” or ” Dear Contestant” then don’t bother replying. It’s an email scam.
Lets pretend the winning email you received DID correctly address you by your first and last name. Don’t just stop at how they address you. It will never hurt to check and match other details of that winning email, to the details you must have received from wherever you entered that lottery, placed that bet, submitted to that competition etc. Your details, your winning details (numbers, horses etc.) and even the company details, should all match details given on that winning confirmation email. At the very least, you’re looking for a match with your full name and the winning details that you have.
Always remember to not only keep details of your competition entry (ticket, book, leaflet etc.) but to also make a note of where you entered that competition or placed that bet. If wherever you entered that competition would not be the address of where you would receive such a big win (i.e. a lottery ticket at a local newsagents or petrol station) then the ticket, book or leaflet would have such details somewhere on them. Find them and make a note of them!
The Inheritance or Bank Transfer Email Scam
These emails are incredibly easy to spot as they will never address you by your name and will always address you as “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear Friend”. It will always be something that can address absolutely anyone.
These email scams will try to convince you that you have either inherited money or that you’ll be entitled to a large cash sum if you help with a bank transfer. These are obvious scams and will immediately ask for all your personal details and even bank details.
Two important rules are necessary to avoid these scams:
1) Our GOLDEN RULE: Always make sure they address you by your first and last name. If they don’t, then it’s an email scam.
2) Never email personal details or (and especially) bank details. Any email that asks of this should immediately be treated as an email scam.
Email Phishing Scams
You may have heard of this on the news, in your newspaper or on the net somewhere. Unfortunately while many companies will alert you to be aware of email Phishing Scams, very few actually take the time to fully explain what a Phishing Scam is. We’re going to let you know exactly what they are and more importantly…how to identify and avoid falling victim to them.
What is an Email Phishing Scam?
There are two types of Phishing Scam. The first is in the form of an email and the second is in the form of a website (we’ll explain more about the website form, later). Both of these forms are called Phishing Scams because they try to pass themselves off as well-known companies. Yes, just as you’ll get counterfeit money and fake shoes, you’ll also get counterfeit websites and emails. Don’t worry, we’ll teach you how to identify and avoid them all.
Phishing Scam emails will try to fool you into believing they’re emails sent from well-known companies such as Banks, Internet stores, Internet finance companies (i.e. PayPal) and even job sites. They’ll copy company logos and use them in their emails and they’ll even try to use an email address that resembles or has that companies name within it. Sounds a bit scary doesn’t it? Well actually it’s not. As long as you remember our important rules you’ll never fall victim to these scams:
1) our GOLDEN RULE: always check how they address you. If it’s from the legitimate company, they’ll address you by your first AND last name. If the email you’re unsure about fails this first step, don’t bother going to steps 2 and 3. Report and delete it. It’s an email Phishing Scam!
2) Phishing Scam emails will 90% of the time, always ask you to send your username or password to them (or any other form of personal details). They’ll use excuses such as “your account has been accessed by a third party” or “your account has been hacked” or “we need to confirm/validate your account”. It will always be something that will try to scare you into sharing your personal details.
NEVER email ANY form of personal details via email. Many people never realise this, but even legitimate staff that work for legitimate banks, online finance companies and Internet stores are NEVER authorised to request your personal details via email. So there is (and should never be) any reason to request these from you!
3) Check the email address from which it was sent and compare this to any emails you’ve received from that company before (order confirmations, newsletters, password reminders etc.). It should at least match one of these email addresses.
REMEMBER: If the email you’re unsure about immediately fails our GOLDEN RULE. Report and delete it. It’s an email scam!
Well known companies that have been targeted by email scams:
ALL MAJOR BANKS, PayPal, Inland Revenue (for Tax Refund scams), All MAJOR JOB SITES (check back for a detailed explanation) and many more. The list grows daily but if you follow our rules, you’ll always be alert and protected from such scams.
Check this page regularly for links to posts on how to identify specific Email Phishing Scams. We’re working on identifying individual scam emails and exposing their email addresses and tactics!
We really hope this has helped you and made you more confident to fully enjoy the Internet. If you have a friend or relative that could use this article to help them (or if they’ve fallen victim to a scam) point them in the direction of this article, so we can help as many people as possible enjoy the web in safety. Thanks for reading.
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