While many people think of email scams as being a relatively minor annoyance, the truth is that they can be a big deal…especially if you actually end up falling for one.
While there are certainly a number of things you can do to limit the number of scams you receive, at the end of the day you’re still responsible for making sure that you don’t fall for any email scams that come knocking on your door.
Here are the top five email scams for 2018 that you’ll want to be on the close lookout for:
1. Amazon Scam
The Amazon e-mail scam has become an increasing occurrence in recent years. Most of the time, the scam is in the form of a legitimate looking cancellation e-mail from Amazon.
The email will concern an order that you did not place, with the sender hoping that you will either believe that you purchased the item or that you cancelled the order.
The message will then direct you to click a link that is malicious. Be smart and don’t click that link.
2. Foreign Lottery Scam
Even more common than the Amazon sam is the foreign lottery scam.
You’ll get a very legitimate-looking email from a lottery corporation that exists in another country. Usually ‘congratulations’ or ‘you’ve won!’ or something to that effect will be in the subject line.
When this email arrives, you can be absolutely certain that it is false if the sender is clearly an individual, if your name was not included in the ‘To’ section, or if the lottery corporation doesn’t even exist (do your research).
In addition, the foreign lottery scam email will almost always ask you for your information such as your full name, phone number, or your physical address. When your information like this is asked in the email, you’ll know without a shadow of a doubt that you were almost the unfortunate victim of a phishing scam.
3. Guaranteed Loan Scam
Ask yourself this: why on Earth would a creditor who doesn’t know you or your credit score offer you a massive credit limit such as a pre-approved loan for hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house or anything else?
Short answer: they never will. And that’s why if you receive an email stating that you have been approved for a ‘pre-approved loan’ from a supposedly reputable creditor it’s definitely fraudulent. Unfortunately, several people fall for this scam everyday, especially those who are in dire financial troubles.
NOTE: a variation of this scam will be a very similar email that concerns credit cards rather than a guaranteed loan. All the same, credit card companies will charge you a fee annually (sometimes), but they will never charge anything upfront.
4. PayPal Scam
With this scam, you’ll receive an email supposedly from PayPal that states you must make a requested action or else your account will be deactivated.
The email will also include a link that directs you to a website that looks very similar to the true PayPal one. When you login, the cybercriminal will then see the email and password that you typed in, which they can then use to access your true PayPal account. Take note that it doesn’t matter which security precautions you take or password managers you use when creating your password, because once you type it in the scammer will see it.
You’ll know that this email is fake because PayPal will never send you an email or threatening to deactivate your account or anything else drastic of that nature.
To be extra sure, you’ll know it’s fake if the linked URL is not a legitimate one (hover your mouse over it and if the URL does not take you to ‘PayPal.com' it’s definitely fraudulent).
5. Survey Scam
The survey scam is perhaps the least obvious out of the five email scams we’re talking about today. You’ll get a legitimate-looking survey that simply asks you to take part in a quick survey, and usually one that deals with either political or social issues to really add to the effect that it’s real.
How do you know if this is a scam?
Simple: if you’re not on the mailing list of the ‘survey company’ you’ve received the email from, it’s a scam.
The e-mail will direct you to click a link that will result in malicious spyware being installed on your computer, so be careful that you don’t click it. If you do, the hackers on the other end will start collecting your passwords, financial information, and anything else they want to use for identity theft.
In short, if you receive any email that asks you to type in your personal information, there is a near certain chance that the email you are receiving is fraudulent. Simply ignore the email, delete it, and block further emails from that particular sender.
Guest post courtesy of Sam Bocetta