Did you know that 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent out every day? We never see them because they are in the spam folder, but some will still find their way into your inbox. It is essential to be careful; unfortunately, you can be the next victim of an email scam.
But how can you identify digital scams? We’re here to talk about it. Read on to learn a few key signs that the person in your inbox is an email scammer.
1. Inconsistencies in the Email Address
This might seem obvious, but it’s trickier than you think! Many email scammers try to mimic the email addresses of more trustworthy people or entities but can’t get it exactly right. Look for any inconsistencies before you hit reply.
Let’s say that you get an email from someone who claims to represent Walmart. If you check Walmart’s website, you’ll see that their email addresses all end in “@walmart.com.”
The average person can’t make an email address under the Walmart domain. A scammer might try to use something like “WalmartRep1@hotmail.com” to convince people that they’re a Walmart representative.
Email the person or entity directly instead of responding to the email when in doubt. If your suspicions are correct, you’ve avoided a scam. There’s no harm done if the emailer was who they claimed to be.
2. Suspicious Unexpected Links or Attachments
So you open an email, and there’s a link or attachment right in the middle that you weren’t expecting. You think you know the sender, but your previous conversation didn’t include anything about a link or attachment. Oh well, you should click it anyway. But no, that is wrong!
This is one of the reasons that phishing training for employees is so important. Someone can send out an email claiming to be an employer and include a link to a “training document.” But surprise: it was a malicious link!
We need to emphasize one of the crucial things, and that is: never open an attachment or link that you don’t expect to get. Email the sender directly (not as a response) to ask for more information when in doubt.
3. Poor Grammar
Did you know that online scammers often use poor grammar on purpose? They want to weed out the most gullible people.
Most people see emails with poor grammar and misspelled words and immediately disregard them. They look unprofessional, so it’s clear that they aren’t legitimate.
However, the people who believe those emails are more likely to click the wrong links and follow questionable instructions. If you see an email that’s rife with errors, tread with caution.
4. A Request for Sensitive Information
It’s uncommon for anyone to ask for sensitive information via email, especially if they’re from a business.
Let’s use the Walmart example again. Suppose you get an email from someone who declares to represent Walmart. They say that someone is using your Walmart.com account to buy items, and they ask you to send them your Walmart.com password via email so they have proof that you’re the account owner.
In reality, this isn’t a scenario that would happen. You may receive a notification of suspicious activity, but you’d likely have to use the website’s portal or go through customer service to manage the situation.
Have You Been the Victim of an Email Scam?
Online scams can happen to anyone. Email scammers get smarter every year, so you need to be cautious when communicating with people online. Utilizing these tips, you can be sure that you have done anything in your power not to get stuck with some of the scam emails and become the next scam victim.
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