Learn how to recognize the 5 most common types of E-mail Scams


Learn how to recognize the 5 most common types of E-mail Scams

In
today’s world, it is not uncommon for you to receive an e-mail from a
person or entity that, although may seem legitimate on the surface, is
an attempt to get your personal information.
For
people like myself, It’s easier to identify these mails since I deal
with this daily, but, what can someone like yourself do?  Emails like
this have a few things in common, that if you remember, you’ll become a
pro at spotting them.

The most important thing to remember is: If it sounds too good to be true; it probably is…

This is a pretty common statement throughout life and applies perfectly in these common e-mail scams outlined below.
Read through the 5 types of email scams below and learn how to recognize each kind, and help protect yourself!

Email Scam #1: Verify your account now to avoid it being closed!

This
is an actual screenshot of a scam email circulating that several
Hotmail users have received asking them to verify their Hotmail
account. This is a scam designed to gain access to your Hotmail account
so spammers can use it to send out spam.

Hotmail scam

How to tell it’s a scam?

·         It
asks for your personal information. No legitimate company, especially
Microsoft, will ever ask you to provide you username, password, date of
birth and/or country, credit card information, etc via email.

·         The email is generally unprofessional or unpolished looking, including:

o   Notice the branding (logo & background image) on the mail above is awkward. The header only goes half-way across.

o   Random words are capitalized in the email, including: Email, Email User Accounts Owner, User, Accounts and others.

o   In the second sentence, the first word of the sentence, “we” is not capitalized.

o   There is poor grammar throughout, but especially in the final statement, “Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update…”

·         There
is an urgency of response time. This pressures you to feel like you
need to make a decision more quickly and do not have time to research
the legitimacy of it.

·         Signature
is incomplete, stating awkwardly: “The Windows Live Hotmail”, not
“Windows Live Hotmail” or “The Windows Live Hotmail Team”.

Two other similar scam emails, which are highlighted on snopes.com, I’ve also seen come to my personal Hotmail account:

·         Ebay account suspension notices that ask you to verify your account information.

·         Paypal needs you to resubmit your credit card and bank account information.

 

Email Scam #2: A large sum of money is due to you if you just give us your personal information.

This is actual text from a scam e-mail received, promising me $7M if I provide them with my personal information.

 “The
outcome of the summit has prompted the Federal Government to empower
only our Bank; First Bank of Nigeria PLC to Identify the owners of
these funds and pay them outright with no delay. We have been asked to
start the payment of US$7,000,000.00 (SEVEN MILLION US DOLLAR) as
compensation to all affected Persons(Entities)i.e:  Individuals Companies and organizations.

You
are one of the Beneficiaries on our list submitted to us so please
reply to our mail for confirmation so that we can begin forwarding all
other necessary evidences, facts and needed information to you.

The
Federal Government has earlier approved the release and payment of the
accumulated funds in the Bank belonging to the Foreigners, but my boss
Mr Jacobs Ajekigbe and the Former Governor of the Central Bank of
Nigeria(CBN) collaborated together and refused to notify and tell you
the truth on how to claim your fund. My Boss and the Governor are using
the accumulative-interest to enrich themselves without the knowledge of
the owners including you.

Confirm to me your:

·         Personal Information;

·         Phone and Fax Number;

·         Banking Information”

How to tell it’s a scam?

·         Reference to “First Bank of Nigeria” (or any other international sounding bank name), which is a common trick in scam emails.

·         Odd capitalizations throughout the email.

·         How did this government employee find my email address?

·         Why are they randomly giving people $7 M?

·         Why are they airing the dirty laundry of a conspiracy to not tell me?

Email Scam #3: You won something!

Scammers
commonly impersonate use large companies that it’s likely you do
business with. This next example appears to be from Microsoft, but it’s
not. Read through the email below, to see if you can spot all the ways
to tell it’s a scam, and then read through my list of things that
tipped me off.

Subject: ELECTRONIC MAIL WINNING NOTIFICATION

From: Microsoft Promotion Team. (Memmi82@netti.fi)

Sent: Fri 8/01/08 8:00 PM

Reply-to: mfudiciary.mark@gmail.com

To:  result@microsoft.co.uk

-- 

Microsoft Award Team

20 Craven Park, Harlesden

London NW10,United Kingdom

Ref: BTD/968/08

Batch: 409978E.

 

Dear Internet User,

 

              ELECTRONIC MAIL WINNING NOTIFICATION

 

The prestigious Microsoft and AOL has set out and successfully

organised a Sweepstakes marking the Annual anniversary we rolled

out over 500.000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Great Britain Pounds)

for our annual year Anniversary Draws. Participants for the draws

were randomly selected and drawn from a wide range of web hosts

which we enjoy their patronage.

 

The selection was made through a computer draw system attaching

personalised email addresses to ticket numbers.Microsoft and AOL

are now the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make

sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used program,

Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.

 

Your email address as indicated was drawn and attached to ticket
number 080775787555 with serial numbers BTD/0257903122/07 and
drew the lucky numbers 04-06-09-90-09-22(07) which subsequently
won you 500.000.00  (Five Hundred Thousand Great Britain Pounds)
as one of the jackpot winners in this draw. You have therefore won
the entire winning sum of 500.000.00  (Five Hundred Thousand Great
Britain Pounds)The draws registered as Draw number one was
conducted in Brockley, London United Kingdom on the 1st of
August 2008.
 
These Draws are commemorative and as such special. Please be
informed by this winning notification to Contact your fiduciary
agent Mr.Mark Anderson, with the information listed below.
 
Mr.Mark Anderson
Microsoft Promotion Award Team
Head Winning Claims Dept.
E-mail: mfudiciary.mark@gmail.com
        mfudiciary.anderson@gmail.com
 
 1. Full Names:
2. Home Address:
3. Age:
4. Sex:
5. Marital Status:
6. Occupation:
7. Phone numbers:
8. Country:
 
Our special thanks and gratitude to Bill Gates and his associates.
We wish you the best of luck.Thank you for being part of our
promotional award program and commemorative Anniversary Draws.
 
Sincerely,
Dr.George Henry.
Head Customer Care Service
Microsoft Promotion Team.
 

Saunalahti
Ykkönen: Puhelut kaikkiin liittymiin 0,069 e/min ja nyt kaupan päälle
Sisärengas-puhelut ja tekstarit viiteen valitsemaasi liittymään 0 e!

How to tell it’s a scam?

·     The “friendly name” that the email is from is “Microsoft Promotion Team”, but if you look at the actual email address it came from (Memmi82@netti.fi), it’s not a Microsoft address, or a promotion management company.

·         The
reply-to address is a gmail address. Microsoft would not use a
competitor’s email service as their reply-to address. Additionally,
it’s different than the sender address.

·         It
is not addressed to an individual. Occasionally, there are legitimate
sweepstakes that you’re notified via email, but they will be addressed
to you as an individual.

·         The
email begins, “The prestigious Microsoft and AOL…” A corporation
wouldn’t tout themselves like that. And more likely in a legitimate
sweepstakes email winning notification, it would start out with
something like, “Congratulations, you have just won…”

·         It
asks for your personal information. No legitimate company, especially
Microsoft, will ever ask you to provide you username, password, date of
birth and/or country, credit card information, etc, via email.

·         It has a foreign language at the bottom of it that is different from the language it was sent in.

Email Scam #4: The sudden emergency!

You
receive email that appears to be from one of your friends that says
they are stranded and need only a few thousand dollars to help them
out.  Any person would help a true friend if they can, right?  Sure
they would, but before you respond or act, ask yourself about the
likelihood of your friend being in that situation.

·         Have they mentioned that they will be traveling? 

·         Do they regularly participate in the kind of activity described? 

·         Sanity check the information and if at the end you still aren’t sure, then pick up the phone and call them.

Today’s
technologies make it easy to impersonate someone and hard to find out
whom is really behind the act. We must all realize that each piece of
information we read and act upon has the time needed to pass our logic
checks before we respond.  One false click, and it result in you
needing to spend time recovering your email, blog, or other service; or
it could be months regaining your identity.

Email Scam #5: If you don’t forward this email, something bad will happen.

We’ve
all seen emails that promise great things if you forward the email to
all your contacts, or threaten bad things if you don’t.  Topics
Hotmail customers and friends have asked about most frequently are
listed below, and link directly to the snopes.com articles debunking
them:

·          A fee will be charged for Hotmail.

·         Get cash from Microsoft, or other companies or get free items (gift certificates, phones, etc) for forwarding an email.

·         Internet petition to keep Messenger a free service.

·         Medical appeals usually involving injured or sick children.

 

What should you do if you receive a questionable email?

1.       Investigate the information.
Take some time and check up on the information. Often sites like
snopes.com can provide information on known chain letters and other scams and untruths.  Do
not click on links within the mail, but do goto that company’s website,
and contact their customer service reps via phone or online to verify
the validity of the email.

 

2.       Report suspicious activities.

If
you think someone has accessed your Hotmail account, that the Windows
Live ID sign-in page looks fraudulent, or you receive an email that
tries to confirm a password change you didn’t authorize, change your
password immediately by going to:
http://account.live.com. Next, help ensure your PC has not been infected with a virus or malware by running a free full-PC scan.

3.       Help the Hotmail team identify new scams.

Click
on the Junk button in Hotmail and select “Junk” or “Report phishing
scam” to report it to the Hotmail team. Whatever you do, do not reply
back to the sender.

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