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Staying Secure Online: How to Spot an Email Scam

Staying Secure Online: How To Spot An Email Scam

Mature man at home using smartphone for online banking, shopping, social media, e-mail, etc. The serious expression indicates there's something to think about ... phishing, e-mail scam, online abuse, identity theft, who knows what?

The number of email scams appearing in your inbox just keeps going up. Here’s a guide on how to stay secure and spot an email scam.

Email scams are nothing new — many people have probably heard of the ‘Nigerian Prince’ scam by now, and know how to avoid these blatant rip-offs.

However, advances in technology and digital literacy means that scammers have gotten more creative, and they’re always evolving ways to part you from your hard-earned money and personal information. These tips will teach you how to spot an email scam, so you can protect yourself and your loved ones from their tricks. 

They Ask You To Verify Personal Info

Unless you are dealing directly with the support department of a brand or website, no major company will ever ask you to verify your personal information in the body of an email. The same goes for verification or resetting of a password for a website. If you haven’t initiated the conversation or password change yourself, and verified the sender, delete it and move on. 

If you are worried that someone has messed with your account and that’s why you’re receiving these emails, log directly into the website itself and go from there — don’t click anything in the emails themselves. 

They Create A Sense Of Forced/False Urgency

If scammers can’t lure you into a sense of false security, they’ll try to override your better judgment with a sense of impending doom if immediate action isn’t taken. They’re counting on you panic-clicking any links or attachments in the email, rather than taking your time to carefully read and investigate things. Never act on impulse — always verify before you take action. 

They Contain Spelling, Grammatical, Content, Or Domain Name Errors

Spotting any of these errors in an email from a major company can be a huge tip-off that the whole thing is a scam. Thanks to spellcheck, spelling errors may not be a factor. However, glaring grammar errors, content that doesn’t match the subject of the email, and incorrect domain names in the address of the email are all bright red scam email warning flags. 

Something Just Seems Off

Don’t know the sender, or other people included in the email?  Is the email just a link, or attachment you didn’t ask for? Does it not make sense, or is it for something you don’t do or use? Does it just seem too good to be true? Delete it!

Always hover over links to verify that the link destination matches the text, read everything carefully, contact the site in question if you have concerns, and when in doubt, don’t click anything in the email, just delete it. It can always be resent if it’s legit. 

For more great money-saving ideas, and useful tips like how to spot an email scam, check our blog.