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Email Safety: Keeping Your Wits About You
It’s no secret that scam emails are circulating in abundance, and have been for many years. As if junk-mail and scam callers weren’t bad enough, they will also reach out to you through your private emails. It seems like there is no escape from these sorts of things as they far too often find their way around the spam filter. While endlessly annoying, they can be fairly harmless when you know what you’re doing.
For those that are less educated in these matters, scam emails can pose a very serious threat. What can seem like a harmless inquiry, or contact from a known source, can soon turn out to be something far more sinister. You may find yourself with major headaches for many years to come after your dealings with these emails. The solution? Informing oneself on email safety. What you need is to be aware of the proper way to deal with these invaders of your privacy.
Identifying Scam Emails
The first thing you need to do is know how to identify the scam emails from the real ones. Once you get a grip on doing this you’ll be in a much better position. Their main tactic is to try and appear to be from companies or other sources that you might trust. These trusted sources could include your bank, credit card company, the government, e-commerce stores, social media, etc. This of course is the lure with which they tempt you.
From here they try and spin a story for you; one that inspires urgency to act or face severe repercussions. Some common yarns they will spin for you are the following:
- Suspicious activity on your account
- Asking to confirm your personal and private information
- Fake invoices requesting you to pay
- Trouble with the law unless you click here now
- An offer to claim free merchandise or services
Oftentimes the spelling and grammar in the email is poor as well, and the greeting will be fairly generic instead of personally addressed to you. The from address usually looks very suspicious as well, since it’s impossible for them to use the proper and official email address of whatever organization they are pretending to be.
How You Should React
The best thing you can do is try to identify scam emails from their subject line, before you are tempted to open them. This will help to avoid any nasty surprises that may be within when you take the risk in opening them. Sometimes opening an email will send a notification back to the sender, so they will know there is someone on the other end, and you may start getting more. Should this occur, simply delete the emails without opening them. Since that’s not always an option, and you may have to open them to identify what it is, we’d recommend keeping an updated antivirus software on your device. This will help protect you from anything within. Keep your operating system updated as well to avoid any security issues that might come with having an older version. If unauthorized access to your accounts is an issue on your mind, you can set up two-factor authentication to get a notification, and one time code, whenever a login attempt is made.
Remember that these types of emails will try to lull you into a false sense of security by posing as a trusted source. They will ask you for something, follow a link, make a payment, provide information, etc. Nothing good will come of doing any of that. Keep your wits about you when checking your emails, and delete the scams as they come in.
March 16, 2021