Picking out an Email Scam

With new technology comes new ways that crooks will find to exploit the unwary. Just because your email is private to you does not mean that it cannot be used against you in a thief’s struggle to take advantage.  Though the techniques of email scammers will continue to evolve as individual security measures and caution practices advance, the practiced internet surfer should always know what to look for in an email to determine exactly what its validity is. These are just a few of the current and common scams used by online brigands to attempt to swindle you in some way.

  • Civil Cases: Generally, any email that talks about a civil case that could result in your winning money for something is not going to be legitimate. The government will rarely, if ever, send you an email about something of importance. If it is legitimate, it will either come in the mail or give you a link that is ended with “.gov.” If you do not see this type of link, then it is likely an email scam.
  • News Alerts: If you are getting news alerts that you did not subscribe to, it is likely a scam. If there is no way to “unsubscribe” for those emails, then the likelihood of it being a scam increases. If you do not subscribe to email updates from a private organization, then they will not send you emails.
  • Unsolicited Charities: Again, if you have not subscribed to a charity’s email list, then they should not be sending you emails. If they contact you about an “Urgent Donation,” most of the time, it is part of a scam.

If you ever get an email from a source that you have never contacted or subscribed to, then that means that the organization sending that email obtained your address from an unauthorized source. Some companies even purchase contacts from phishing cells while others still have their own phishing division, which attempts to drive information about you into their database. If you have a filter-enabled email provider like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, you can elect to “Mark as Spam,” causing no more emails from that sender to come into your inbox.

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