Recognizing email scams
Email scams are rampant, come in all shapes and forms, and happen every single day. Recognizing email scams is so important for you. If you can recognize email scams, you will save yourself a lot of money. One of the most commonly known email scams is the Nigerian Prince email scam. The Nigerian Prince email scam goes as such: A Nigerian Prince emails you out of the blue. The Nigerian Prince states that he is dying, or that this may be a representative of the now deceased Nigerian Prince. This Nigerian Prince either has or does not have any living relatives. It’s now decided that you will be the sole inheritor of the Nigerian Prince’s estate. All you have to do is work through a couple of hoops with them, and you will have millions of dollars. The variations of this scam are in the thousands. However, it's always the same premise: if you send a certain amount of money to the Nigerian Prince or their representative, you will then in return get millions of dollars. The truth-of-the-fact is that after you send the initial amount of money, you will never get anything else from the Nigerian Prince or their representatives. There are no millions of dollars for you. The only thing that happens, is you end up paying them money.
Common email scams that people fall for are fake invoices. Scammers make themselves look like a particular company, and they send you a fake invoice that you need to pay when you click on the attachment. It will look like you have downloaded some type of malware on your computer. This scam gets a little bit more sophisticated at this point. They may have a chat box pop-up trying to convince you that they are from a large corporation like Microsoft, for example, and that they are there to help. Or they will prompt you to call a number because your computer is infected with viruses. Once you've made that phone call, the person who answers the phone will attempt to help you set up a remote session to your computer. They will go through a number of different so-called scans of your computer. And then at the end, tell you that your computer is definitely infected with viruses, and to fix it will cost a certain amount of money. Usually this fee is between $200 and $500. Seems like a pretty good deal for computer repair, doesn't it? You would probably get a better deal with Uptime from DataCom Technologies. Click here to read more about that.
Another common scam is getting an email from what-looks-like your bank. The premise of this is it's actually NOT from your bank, even though it appears to be from your bank. They will say that there is a problem with your account, and they need to confirm some information about your account so you can log back in. So you click on the link in the email, and it takes you to a fake website for that company. It will ask you to put in your username and your password. Sometimes it will even go so far as to ask you for a Social Security number, address, or other identifying information. The truth is that none of this helps confirm your account. All it does is plug your information into a scammer’s database, period. Now they have your password to go out and scan the entire Internet with all of the sites that are out there with your password and try to hack any of your accounts.
Why do hackers do these things?
Scammers and hackers are looking for money. That is essentially all they're looking for. It doesn't matter if you don't have a lot of money, if you have a pension or retirement, or a credit card. If you have family members with money, they want access to that purchasing power. If they can convince you that what is happening right now is so urgent that you must pay them this certain amount of money, they know that you'll do anything to make that happen. Most of these scammers are in countries where the exchange rate is so high between the American dollar and their exchange rate, that a $200 scam in one day is a huge payout for them in that country. These are generally in Middle Eastern or African countries. These are organized companies that work very hard to scam unsuspecting Americans in other first world countries. They go after small businesses, they go after your home, and they go after large businesses. They say the bigger you are, the bigger the target you have on your back. If your company transacts a lot of business, they will come after you.
A real thing today is ransomware as a “service.” What this means is any person can go out and buy software called ransomware. And they can shoot this out on the Internet to computer systems, lock those computer systems down, and demand that you pay them money so they can unlock the computer system. They will do this generally through an email scam. It will begin by them sending you a fake invoice, trying to convince you that something is wrong with your computer system. Once they have infiltrated your network with their ransomware, they demand payment. The scary thing about the ransomware as a service is, that they do not have to have any computer knowledge to do this and it has opened the market up to all sorts of scammers who generally just did phone scams. This makes it easy for them to be able to scam you out of a lot of money.
So how do you recognize email scams?
Email scams come in all shapes and sizes and it's impossible to do a single blog on every single scam that is out there. What you need to be wary of in an email scam situation is emails from people you are not expecting to hear from, emails from someone you've never talked to before, emails with the proposition that it is too good to be true, emails that make it seem like there's a payment involved that has to happen right now, and emails with such a sense of urgency that you must respond immediately and not talk to anybody else before you respond and engage in this conversation.
What do you do if you get an email scam?
First, you should delete the email. If you think the email is legitimate but you're not sure, no matter what the email says or if you're engaging with this scammer on the phone, call a friend. Good people to check with are family members, an IT professional, or your local banker. Bankers and IT professionals are on the front lines of email and phone scams every single day. Always check and think twice about any email you receive, especially if it involves paying somebody money.
If you believe you're a victim of an email scam or are concerned about email scams, DataCom Technologies can protect your email. We have the capability of protecting all your devices on your network. Click here to contact us or give us a call at 330-680-6002.