Over the past year I have been seeing an enormous increase in scams coming into my own inbox and those of my clients. Many people I know have already been scammed for upwards of thousands of dollars. Spam filtering helps a bit but every once in a while scam emails do come through. Be extra careful these days.
The goal of these emails is to get you to call the phone number or click a link – once they get you on the phone they can pretend to be anyone they want and trick you into following any directions they want. Don’t call the phone number, open an email attachment, or click a link in these emails!
The only antivirus/anti-malware product I tend to recommend is MalwareBytes.
A few tips you can follow:
- Investigate the sender of the email. Move your mouse over the sender of the email or click the icon to the right of the email sender to see what their email address is – if their email address is related to the actual company it could be legitimate, but if it is a random email account then it is definitely a scam.
|For example in the scam email you’ll see below, the sender came from a random @gmail.com email address.|
- Look over the email for poor spelling, bad design, and things that don’t make much sense. Scammers are getting much better though, and sometimes copy legitimate emails in their entirety, however if the email looks a little off then trust your gut — it’s a scam.
For example in the scam email you’ll see below, there are many clues – “hello user”, “Dear User”, awkward language use, extra spacing and capitalization where there shouldn’t be, and a strange subject line. Additionally in the example below, the sender didn’t even pretend to come from McAfee and is instead “Pilgrim King.”
- Consider if you’ve ever done business with the company, if not then it’s almost certainly a scam.
- If you have done business with the company, then you can open a new web browser window and sign into your account to look over any prior purchases or see if they mention your credit card having expired.
- Don’t feel bad about ignoring an email or trashing it if you’re not sure — the next time you try to order something online or work with that company they will make extra sure you know that you owe them money on their website itself.
You’re also welcome to send me the email in question and I can advise further. If you don’t hear back from me within a day or two then you know it was a scam as I likely won’t see your email due to the filters I have in place.