There’s a good chance you spend a considerable amount of time each day checking, reading, and responding to emails. It’s obvious why email is so popular because of the convenience to communicate in a very quick and timely manner, plus the ease of sharing information across the world with each other. With any type of high-demand product or service, criminals exploit and target these services. In 2019, it was estimated 3.4 Billion fake emails, such as phishing or malicious emails, were sent each day, and that number continues to rise. These fake and malicious emails cost Americans $Billions each year, so it is important to educate yourself and understand what to look for so you are not the next victim. Below are some of the most common scam emails to look out for.
Emails that ask you to reset a password or confirm personal or payment Information.
Even if the email seems legit or from a person or company that you do business with, you should not click on links to reset passwords or update portal information unless you’ve initiated the request. If you think it might be legit, go to the official website to reset the password or update your information, or try to call the official phone number of the organization requesting the information.
If you are not expecting the email, you should never open any attachments or click on any links.
Malicious emails embed ransomware or viruses into links and attachments within the email. Typically opening an email will not harm your device, but once you click the link or attachment, that’s when it’s possible for your device and data to be exposed or locked until you pay a ransom. Do not click on links or open attachments if you are not expecting them or did not request them.
The email message creates a sense of urgency or curiosity.
A notification that a charge was made on your credit or bank account or a purchase didn’t go through, a special offering if you click on the link within 30 minutes, or news about a change in a work policy or the latest video of what the President said, are all typical ways criminals try to get us to click on the links that are malicious. Criminals know the manufactured sense of urgency is effective in getting humans to forget what we know we shouldn’t do and do it anyway. Stop and think before reacting to an email!
Pop-ups from Microsoft or other vendors on your computer to call for assistance.
Although not email-related, we still experience numerous people who fall for this trap and believe they are calling a Microsoft or Apple vendor because their computer has been hacked, only to find out they’ve given device access to criminals or even given payment information to them. Do not give anyone access to your computer unless you know who it is!
These are just a few of the ways we see people fall victim to hackers on a daily basis, along with numerous other ways. Also be aware many of these same tactics are used by sending text messages to cell phones or people calling your home or cell phones. Be alert and stay safe!