The use of email by identity thieves and scam artists is rampant. Statistics show there are over 15 million victims every year. These victims are tricked into giving up personal information by clicking an email link that takes them to an “official” looking website or unknowingly download malware that wrecks computers or gathers information to report back to thieves.
Email scammers are constantly improving and testing their methods. When they find something that works it is quickly blasted out to millions of people. You need to be on guard at all times!
The best thing to do to avoid becoming a victim is to NEVER open an email from “official” sounding financial or government institutions . Remember that these companies or agencies will NEVER send a blind email asking for information. They never ask you to confirm your account through an email link. Don’t be fooled by warnings of security problems. The best practice is to NEVER click on a link or attachment provided in an email.
Be especially careful of any emails you receive from banks, government institutions, shipping companies, online retailers and sites you have grown to trust like Facebook, Ebay, Paypal and UPS. Never fall for the trap of “confirming” your account or giving out personal details. They also may “warn” you of account problems… don’t fall for it. The purpose of the email is to get you to click on a link and enter your account information or to unknowingly download malicious software. Just delete the email and forget it.
If you need to check an account the best practice is to physically type the company website address in your browser bar and go directly to their website. NEVER click on links in an email even if it has company logos that look official.
Of course, a good anti-virus and email scanner software is an absolute “must have” these days. A solid choice is AVG. The good news is they offer a completely free version that is excellent and that also scans your emails. Just type “AVG Free Download” into Google search and look for the official AVG download website. Don’t download the software from third parties.
There are so many email scams out there it would take pages and pages to list them all here… and there are hundreds of new ones popping up every day. Remember, there is NO free money available to you through an email. This includes advance fees, lottery winnings, financial windfalls, auction winnings and other scams.
The best practice is to NEVER trust an email unless you absolutely know the party. And even then, their email account could have been hacked. So, the best advice is NEVER completely trust an email, period.