Imagine, you receive an email from a stranger and it urgently demands that you transfer money to them. You’d quickly hit delete, right? Well, since some criminals are relentless and will do anything to pursue easy money, email scams are a bit harder to spot.
In fact, when a group of people was asked to identify which emails they thought were fake, many of them could not tell the difference. It can be very scary to know that email spoofs are on the rise. And because of this, we put together 6 examples of this trending new cybercrime that you should know about.
How do email scams work?
Most email scams work because of targeted email phishing. Defrauders access data records and then email their potential victims by using portions of the information. The emails they send seem to be legit because they use the correct addresses, phone numbers, and/or names. Within the email, the crooks provide a pretty convincing reason to wire money. The receiver follows all of the email’s instructions and no one knows it’s a scam until it’s too late.
6 of the most frequently used examples
Now that you know how it works, let’s look at the 6 most frequently used scenarios involved with email scams.
- They might say you owe the IRS taxes and you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay up.
- Others may say that you won a federal grant and have to pay a processing fee to get the rest of your money.
- Some may even tell you that a loved one is in trouble and needs your financial help.
- Potential homebuyers will receive an email demanding payment for home inspections or agent fees.
- Credit card holders will get a notification that payment methods have changed to wire transfers.
- Lastly, they may claim to be a business and that you have an overdue invoice to pay.
Remember, there are a lot of different types of scams. Although we listed 6 examples that are frequently used, this list is not all-inclusive. Be diligent and continue reading to learn more.
What they all have in common
There are a few elements that most email scams have in common.
Tidbits of correct information- Every phishing email will have at least one piece of information that is correct. This is like the bait on the end of a scammer’s hook.
Urgency- Practically all email phishing scams have some sense of urgency to them. They require the receiver to act now or pay the consequences. Remember, government agencies will never ask you to pay by wiring money. Neither will most legitimate businesses.
Attachments- A lot of phishing emails have strange attachments or forms. Never open them.
Links- Scammers will send emails to a company to get someone to click a link and infect their computer with malware.
Grammar mistakes- A lot of emails involved with cybercrime contain grammar or spelling mistakes.
What should you do?
If you come across an email that urgently asks you to send money, remember first and foremost to never click any of its links. Additionally, do not use any of the phone or contact information from the email. Instead, access previous statements or invoices to call the company directly and verify. If the request seems to be from a family member or friend, reach out and validate that they really sent the email.
Furthermore, keep your eyes open and do your research. A simple change of letters could result in an email spoof that will steal your money. Worker@CreditUnion.com looks very similar to Worker@CredetUnion.com. Some switches aren’t as obvious so make sure to check twice.
Although email scams are on the rise, they do not have to ruin your day. Taking a systematic approach will relieve a lot of stress. By understanding the frequently used examples and common elements of these phishing emails, you can feel more secure about protecting your hard earned money.