5 Signs of Suspicious Emails
It’s shockingly easy to create a realistic looking email that appears authoritative and authentic and the best way to protect yourself is to know what red flags to look for when you get a suspicious-looking email.
The Internet can be a terrifying place with scams, viruses, spam and all the results you get when typing “spider bites” into Google images (don’t do it). The best way to protect yourself is to know what red flags to look for when you get a suspicious-looking email that might not be completely authentic. So here is a list of 5 red flags to look out for when checking your email.
Emails that ask for personal information
It’s shockingly easy to create a realistic looking email that appears authoritative and authentic, but as soon as that legit looking email requests for your username or password, that is an immediate red flag. This is a common tactic of Phishing scams, which is an attempt to obtain sensitive information from victims like usernames, passwords or even credit card numbers. If you do get an email asking for personal information, no matter how authentic it might look, play it safe and contact the company directly and make them aware of the email you received. Doing so can help bring awareness to a scam and warn others before they fall victim to it.
Emails that have unsolicited attachments or links
This is another tool in the phishing scam arsenal, but it is also another way for attackers to install malicious software onto your computer. Many times an email containing a subject line like, “Here’s that PDF you wanted” with an attachment ready for you to download. You might start to think you’re losing your mind because you can’t remember what PDF you asked for, but the truth is you most likely never asked for it as it’s probably a malicious file. As a best practice, don’t download or follow any links in an email you didn’t ask for from a sender you don’t know.
Emails that claim you’ve won something
Congratulations, you’ve won the lottery! Yay! Feel free to quit your job and start shopping for a 70 bedroom mansion by merely paying this small fee first. If that last part triggered an alarm, then good, you’ve been paying attention. Many scams, such as this lottery one, are continually resurging and sadly many people do fall for them. These types of emails are another attempt by scammers to obtain sensitive information to clean out your bank account.
Email response from an ad offering you more money
Ok, this one is a bit specific and needs some setup. Say you list a car online, and you get a response from someone telling you they’re interested. They’re prepared to send you certified check or money order for well beyond the asking price instructing you to deposit it into your account and withdraw the difference to give to the person coming to pick up the car. If you accept this arrangement, you will receive a very convincing forgery that will bounce days after the scammer has your car, and cash and the worst part is your bank will hold you accountable for the money you withdrew when you deposited the fake check or money order.
Any email from a prince
Quick name a prince! If you started humming Purple Rain just now that’s fine, go ahead and have your moment…Ok, done? Good. What isn’t fine is receiving an email from an alleged prince claiming he needs money due to being kidnapped or deported, or he wants season 10 of Grey’s Anatomy on DVD. No matter the excuse the prince gives, rest assured it’s a scam. It’s easy to laugh at how ridiculous it sounds it’s a frequent punch line about falling for a Nigerian Prince scam, but sadly many people still do. Best practice is to delete that prince’s email and go back to humming Purple Rain.
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