Is it a Scam?

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Occasionally, we can get emails that make us pause and ask, “Is this for real or a scam?”  We all are aware that scammers use email and text messages to trick us into giving up our details.

  They may try to steal passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers.  And they are ever-evolving and changing their tactics, but there are still ways to identify a phishing email.

It is important to remember that phishing emails may look like they are from a company you know and trust.  Scammers put a lot of effort into their scams, and are skilled in replicating an official email.  Often, they tell you a story, something that would need your immediate attention.  They might claim there is a problem with your account, say you are eligible for a government refund, even say they have noticed suspicious activity or log-in attempts…  Oh, the irony…

Let’s look at two real emails.  One is legitimate, the other is a scam.

Which one is the scam?  Can you tell which one is legitimate?

Both look like they are companies you know and trust:  PayPal and American Express.  Both have the correct logo and header.  Both claim activities that you may want to be informed about.

Clue #1: “Dear Client” 

A generic greeting.  Rest assured that if you have an account with either of these companies, they know your name, but the American Express email doesn’t even have a greeting, you say…  So on to Clue #2 then.

Clue #2: The Button

When you move your cursor over a link in an email (without clicking it) it will show you where the link will take you.  Look at the links.  Can you tell which one it the scam now?

This will be the truth-teller but look carefully.  There is always the possibility that one letter is off, for example, if it says http://www.americaneypress.com, it is a fake do not click it. In this case, the PayPal email is clearly fake.

A safe way to avoid having to become an email detective is if you get an email that seems unusual to you, instead of clicking these links of convenience, open your browser, go to the site directly, log in to your account and see if there are any warnings or you can always call Customer Service.

More Ways to Protect Yourself from Email Scams

#1 Protect your computer by using security software and keep it up to date. 

#2 Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication.  Many companies now offer extra security by requiring two credentials to log in, oftentimes with email and your mobile device.

#3 Protect your data by backing it up.  Backing up your data somewhere else other than your home or office network is important.  Cloud storage is perfect for this. Additionally, you can use an external hard drive but is not recommended that this be your only backup. Redundancy is excellent when it comes to backups.

Need help with this?  Quick Connect Can HELP!  We can assist you with any of the above.  We can also help with virus removal and data recovery if your computer got a virus from a malicious email. Call us or set up an appointment today!