When it comes to email scams, even the broadest and most basic of these attacks now have an underlying level of sophistication. The most common form they take will be one that imitates either an official bank account or Paypal email.
In order to avoid accidentally falling for these emails, it’s important to understand the what, the why, and the how of them. This blog will do just that — helping you to identify scam emails, and making sure you remain secure when it comes to your emails.
Is the Formatting Odd?
The first thing to take notice of is the formatting of these emails. They’ll often contain a dire warning instructing you to respond immediately to an issue with your account. This is intended to mimic real account messages, while also exaggerating for emotional effect.
They will also use graphics and logos designed to mimic an official message. One way to prevent this tactic from working is to never click on any link you receive claiming to be from a bank or Paypal account. If you are worried something needs your attention, then you can login to your account through the usual channels.
Do You Need To Enter Login Details?
The aim of these emails is to redirect you to a site the hackers have set up. This site will have been designed to mimic the login page for either a bank account or a Paypal account. The aim of these pages is for you to enter your login details — under no circumstances should you do that.
These pages are often quite simple in design, and once again the key to noticing any irregularities is to check small details against the real thing. These scams rely on people seeing general signifiers such as official logos, and not thinking twice.
Taking a few seconds to check before you login could make a huge difference. Make sure the URL is the correct one, and it’s not PayPall.com instead of PayPal.com.
Is There an Elaborate Story That Can’t Be Verified?
There are other phishing scams used by hackers, including those that claim to be a travelling relative in need of assistance. For example, you might receive an email saying your niece is travelling in Spain and has an issue with her bank card and needs some money right away, and communication is difficult. So being the helpful relative, you send money off right into a scammers bank account.
All of these scams relying on casting a wide net, sending out tens of thousands of emails in the hopes that for some people the details will be coincidentally similar.
These emails often target seniors, or those unfamiliar with technology. For those who are vulnerable, we’d suggest asking a relative for help or contacting them if you’re worried about suspicious emails.
Monitor Your Accounts
If the unthinkable does happen, and your account is compromised — then you should be aware of how to monitor your account. While some hackers will take out large sums, which will be easy to spot, many will only take out small deposits on a monthly basis.
This is why you should always monitor your statements for unfamiliar transactions, and report any you see instantly to your bank or Paypal. This is the most common, and effective, example.
No matter what the scam, the best solution is always vigilance. Make sure you double-check any emails you receive and always be careful when it comes to money and passwords.
If there’s not enough details in a story, or there is time pressure for a decision, it’s okay to take a minute and properly assess the situation. If you had checked your email an hour later the same message would still be there – so take your time to ensure that it is not a scam.