The old saying of “it’s too good to be true” should be your battle cry when you do anything on the internet including reading your email.
Scammers thrive on finding people who are looking for that get rich quick plan. Even worse, they try to scare you into doing something that you shouldn’t.
Below are FIVE scams that have made their way around the internet many times.
Scam #1 - Foreign Letter Scam – You receive an email from an official representing a foreign agency asking for your help to transfer millions of dollars out of the country. You are promised a cut of the funds if you help by sending money to cover various fees.
What to do: This one is easy….delete the email. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it’s fake. If you respond and send the money, you will never hear from that person again. Sorry to bust everyone’s bubble, get rich quick plans, don’t exist….unless you win the lottery.
Scam #2 - The Spoofed Banking Scam – You receive an email warning you of a security breach related to your financial institution’s account. The email contains a link taking you to your financial institution’s website and asks you to log in using your credentials. The fake (spoofed) website is then used to steal your money and identity.
What to do: This is a scammer’s dream - getting you to enter your online credentials! What happens here is you are directed to a fake (spoofed) site that is made to look like your financial institution’s website. As you enter your username and password, this information is logged and the scammers then go to your real online banking site, log in and away they go! You can prevent this with a few simple steps.
- Re-read the email. These types of scam emails are usually short and to the point and may be full of spelling errors. But even if they look legit, NEVER click on the link embedded in the email, this will lead you to the bad site.
- Go to your financial institution’s website directly to log in.
- Report the email to your financial institution. They will be able to tell you if the email is not legitimate and can warn their other clients to the scam.
Scam # 3 - The Threat Scam – You are sent an email threatening to accuse you of a crime, to harm your family or have you harmed. Email is demanding payment or has attachments loaded with viruses.
What to do: Threatening emails try to scare you into doing something you shouldn’t. Most of the time they are looking for money. Clicking the links may download viruses to your computer. Or it may come through a legit site like PayPal, attempting to extort money. The best thing you can do is delete the email and move on. If in doubt, contact your local law enforcement.
Scam #4 - The Fake Anti-Virus Alert – A window pops up advising you that your anti-virus is out of date or your computer is infected with a virus. There is an attachment or link to download the fake anti-virus fix.
What to do: Similar to the threat scam, they are trying to scare you into doing something you shouldn’t. NEVER click OK on the windows or boxes, as they can sometimes activate the virus download its self. You should always, when possible, click the little red or black X on the window or box that closes out the program.
The next step should be to run a full virus scan on your computer with your installed virus protection program. You have one, right? If not, you need to get one. AVG is a great FREE (yes, FREE!) basic anti-virus program. You should also run a malware scanner. Malwarebytes is another great FREE (hey, 2 FREE programs in a row!) basic malware scanner and cleaner.
Scam # 5 - The Facebook APP Scam – You are browsing Facebook and you are prompted to install a plug-in to see who is viewing your profile, install a plug-in to change Facebook background colors, or you’re offered free giveaways.
What to do: Facebook - yes, that little startup company that has taken over everyone’s life! Well, scammers know that and want to exploit that. This is very similar to the fake anti-virus email. The scammer just needs you to click that link and then the damage is done. Resist the temptation. Delete the email. If you do click on the email, follow the steps listed for the fake anti-virus alert.
The best thing you can do to protect your computer and yourself is think of the following to avoid being a victim:
- If you do not know the sender, do not reply, delete
- The offer is too good to be true….it is, delete.
- Email contains spelling and grammar errors…delete
- You are asked for money in any way….delete
- If the content is shocking or scandalous….delete
- Promise of something grand, cash or trips, etc….I’m telling you that Prince is not there! Delete!
Some good informational websites to check out are list below
- Contact the FBI at: www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field
- Contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center: www.ic3.gov
- AVG Free Anti-Virus: free.avg.com
- Malwarebytes FREE Anti-Malware: www.malwarebytes.org
This is a short list of items to look out for, but there are many more we could have shown….what else have you come across or would like information about?
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