Fake or Real Emails and how to tell the difference!
Yes, I know I said we’d be discussing Tomorrow’s World Today, but I’ve been side-tracked by an explosion of email and website frauds that I thought would be more relevant. Email fraud is the intentional deception made for personal gain, or to damage another individual through sending fraudulent and misleading emails. The purpose is usually to get you to send them money, or to give them enough personal detail for them to defraud you.
Fake emails often (but not always) display some of the following characteristics:
The sender’s email address doesn’t tally with the trusted organisation’s website address.
The email is sent from a completely different address or a free web mail address (gmail.com, outlook.com, hotmail.com).
The email does not use your proper name but uses a non-specific greeting like “dear customer”.
A sense of urgency; for example, the threat that unless you act immediately your account may be closed or threatening to send revealing pictures to your friends and family.
A prominent website link. These can be forged or seem very similar to the proper address, but even a single character’s difference means a different website (barlcays.co.uk, nawtest.com)
A request for personal information such as user name, password or bank details.
The email contains spelling and grammatical errors. This is very common, and they may contain phrases that an English speaker would never use.
You weren't expecting to get an email from the company that appears to have sent it.
The entire text of the email is contained within an image rather than the usual text format.
The image contains an embedded hyperlink to a bogus site.
A begging email purporting to be from somebody you know
How many times do I get asked if I think an email is fake? I recently received a call from somebody that has received an email saying that their PayPal account had been hacked. I asked if they even had a PayPal account, and they said, NO! I then asked them how they thought that their non-existent account could have been hacked … and the penny dropped!!
So, what should you do if you’ve received a scam email?
Delete the email!
Do not click on any links in the scam email.
Do not reply to the email or contact the senders in any way.
If you have clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open, just close your browser and restart your computer.
Do not open any attachments that arrive with the email.
If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank.
Sometimes, following a link in an email takes you to a fake website that tells you that your computer has been infected and telling you to call the number on the screen … DON’T CALL THE NUMBER! … no matter how dire the consequences might seem … without even trying to close the browser, just shut your computer down and start again. 99% of the time you’ll be back to normal and you can go back to your emails and delete the offending item.
As always, if in doubt or if you need help, you know where to come!
Added: 12th February 2019