The invention of email revolutionized the way we communicate with one another and the way we get the information we need. After email was invented, we no longer had to rely on the mailman to bring us the communication we need; all we had to do was turn on our computers and reach out to our contacts.
Email remains a useful tool for communication, but these days those communicators are not always looking out for our best interests. It did not take long for the scam artists to start using email to their advantage and finding ways to separate hardworking people from the money they worked so hard for.
These email scams take many different forms, but they all have one thing in common. If you fall for them, you are likely to become a victim, and the results could be severe and long-lasting.
That is why it is so important to watch out for the warning signs of an email scam. The scam artists are getting better and better, but there are still some telltale signs to watch out for. Here are three classic warning signs of an email scam.
1. A Call for Immediate Action
The perpetrators of email scams try to scare their victims into taking action, and they want them to act immediately, before they have a chance to think things over. Whether it is a dire warning that your bank account has been hacked or a screaming subject line threatening your imminent arrest, these calls for immediate action should always raise a red flag.
No matter how dire the warning, take a deep breath, and take the time to read the entire message. Chances are you will spot some other red flags and warning signs that the email is a scam.
2. Misspelled Words and Odd Word Choices
The scam artists are getting better in this regard, but a careful reading of their emails often reveals problems with word choices, spelling, and grammar. Email scams often originate overseas, and the messages are often written by individuals for whom English is a second language. Watch out for strange word choices, grammar errors, and other indications that the sender is not who they say they are.
3. A Request for Duplicate Information
Another classic warning sign of an email scam is a request for information the sender would already have. Your bank, for instance, would never send an email requesting your Social Security number, since you had to supply that information when you opened your account.
Be suspicious of a sender who requests personal information like your credit card number or bank account information. You should never share this information with anyone through email or over the phone, and caution should always be the watchword.
Email scams are everywhere, and they are spreading fast. If you do not want to be the next victim, you need to know how to spot the warning signs. The three classic warning signs listed above are common across many different scams, and if you see them, you should hit the delete button and run the other way.
Keeping these emails out of your inbox is an important defensive strategy. Many open source spam programs are available, but commercial grade filters like our Inbound Spam Filtering that comes with our Email Hosting plans applies over 50 filtering mechanisms to each email that is received, and is constantly learning to adapt to new phishing trends.