Folks need to stop focusing on Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Instead, it’s more practical to zero in on keeping up with the latest email scams. Why? Because scams are on the rise, and everyone is vulnerable. Many are designed to steal information, deplete victims’ funds, disable computers for ransom, and compromise safety and security, as examples. Criminals continually seek new ways to manipulate people, so knowing how to spot, prevent, or stop scammers dead in their tracks is key. Here are two popular email scams making the news:
Scam # 1 – Spoofing scam involving G-Mail, Outlook, and others: Spoofing occurs when a bad actor intentionally disguises an email address, sender name, phone number, or website URL by changing something as simple as one letter or number. Scammers use this to trick victims into believing they are communicating with a trusted source, when truthfully, they are dealing with imposters. It’s always important to take the time to verify the accuracy of a sender’s address before opening an email. Here are a couple of other helpful tips. First, never open suspicious emails. Second, if it looks to be from a familiar source, stop and carefully check before opening it. If you do not trust the identity of the sender, simply do not open the email. Third, if you open an email and you immediately have doubts, exit, and delete the email. The FBI warns people to be wary of emails containing links. Never click on links in suspicious emails. The FBI also reminds people that companies do not seek passwords or personal information via random emails. Pressure for you to provide such information or act immediately are red flags of scams. Do not engage.
Scam #2 – Google scam involving prizes: In this email con, the scammer pretends to be from Google. They offer prize money to you for helping them reach a search milestone. But it is not legitimate. The email may read something like, “Congratulations, you’re our 18th billion search.” One may be instructed to click on a link or be asked to provide personal information or buy gift cards to get the prize money. Or a potential victim may be asked to pay money upfront or provide bank account numbers to receive a prize. Each of those is a bank emptying scam. Google does not run lotteries or sweepstakes. Nor do they congratulate random individuals with prizes. Google will never request your banking information, social security number, or any such personal data. Anyone unfamiliar who is probing for information or is pressuring you to act fast is a scammer. Best to not engage!
Computers are regularly used by most people, so it’s no surprise that scammers use emails as a source to hunt for targets and scam the innocent. They may use spoofing or prize trickery to gain more victims. In these cases, one may never be too careful. Always stay on guard for scams and check emails carefully before opening. Never open suspicious ones or click on unsolicited links. Keep your computer updated with the latest software updates and protections, and report suspicious emails to your provider. Rather than risk problems, simply delete it. As always, err on the side of caution because it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
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