Top Ten Email Scammer Tips

email symbolSome parents allow children, as young as 5 or 6 to hold an email account.  The list below, of the many scams that prey on email users, helps to explain why most email providers expect account holders to be 13 and over.

To keep them cyber safe, it is essential that you have this conversation with your child.  The older they get the more likely they are to sign up for all sorts of things; games, competitions, websites of interest, and the more likely they are to attract spam. They need to know how to quickly identify what should be immediately deleted.

1. Disembodied links

Here are the types of emailed links that should make you especially wary:

  • Links that are the only content in the body of an email
  • Shortened links that don’t display the actual address, such as bit.ly and  tinyurl
  • Hyperlinked text (for the same reason as shortened links – there’s no  indication of what you are clicking on)

When in doubt, don’t click. But to help you out, browsers such as Google  Chrome can reveal a link’s full address when you hover over it with your mouse  cursor. For shortened links, you can use nifty link expanders such as LongURL to view the real content before clicking.

2. Inordinate number of recipients

If you get an email with hundreds of email addresses in the recipient field,  yet the message seems directed toward one person, your scam sense should be on  high alert.

3. Vague, generic or non-existent subject lines

Sure, you send emails without subjects to your friends all the time, but if  an email pops up from an unrecognised address with “(no subject)”, be careful.  The same goes for vague or generic subject lines, including “Fwd: private” or  “Free to look!” If you have no idea what you’re opening, it’s probably best to  leave it alone.

4. Intense enthusiasm

WHEN IT COMES TO EMAIL SECURITY, CAPS LOCK CAN BE MORE  THAN JUST ANNOYING – it can indicate spam. Overly enthusiastic emails with  emphasis and exclamations (“I JUST LOST 45lbs W/ THE X-Fit fitness program!!1!!)  are sure fire signs the information isn’t what it seems.

5. Grammar and spelling

You don’t have to be a grammar nut to notice odd mistakes in scam emails.  Look out for questionable syntax and major typos, especially if the email  supposedly comes from a reputable company or bank.

Also watch out for scammers that purposely misspell things to avoid your spam  filter, such as “V1agr@” instead of “Viagra”.

6. Strange requests

This one’s easy: If someone is emailing you for medical assistance, “I need an operation or I will die” or writes  “Help me cheat on my husband”, it’s just not legit. That’s what emergency  contacts are for. And Snapchat.

7. Urgency

People don’t typically use email to send urgent messages of an emergency  nature. If you get an email that claims a situation is a matter of life or death  – or a desperate person who needs money wired now – it’s safe to  assume the sender wouldn’t be targeting you, a stranger, in the first place.

8. Sensitive information requests

Unfortunately, people accidentally send secure information to scammers more  often than you would expect. This is how scammers (that is, smart scammers)  operate – many ask for personal information (credit card numbers, passwords) and  disguise emails to look official. Companies, schools, banks and other  institutions won’t ask you to transmit sensitive information in an email.

9. Name-sender disagreement

Scam email addresses often have different names to dupe the recipient. Check  the address before assuming something is true – an email from Match.com wouldn’t  have the email address “contact@lightsaberduel.com” (true story).

10. Sure fire guarantees

You should know by now that nothing on the internet is guaranteed. Promises  to boost your sex life or quick money for working from home shouldn’t be taken  seriously. “Watch this video and women will adore you?” More like: “Click this  link and regret it.”

This post was originally published on Mashable and sent in to icybersafe by Damien ATKINSON-BUCK. Mashable is  the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and  technology. Damien is an IT Teacher at The Ridgeway Campus, Ivanhoe Grammar School.

Read more: How To Spot An Email Scam | Emails, Scams.

About Renata Rowe

Deputy Head of Campus/Head of Secondary, Ivanhoe Grammar School, Plenty Campus This blog is the School's way of helping our parents and teachers understand and experience the cyber world that their children live in. We post stories about the latest cyber safety issues, and the latest social mediums that their children and teens might be using. We believe that teaching children and teens to be good Digital Citizen from a young age will protect them and their reputations. Our parents have been delighted and have subscribed so that they can receive our updates - we post about once or twice a week. So subscribe - its easy to do, just enter your email address in the box in the top righthand corner of the home page and posts will automatically be delivered to you.
This entry was posted in Cyber Safety, cybersafety, cybersmart, Dangers, Email, Internet safety, Parental Controls, Parents, Scams, Tweens and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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