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Fraud and Email Scams

Earlier this month burglary was knocked out of the top three crime calls from our sub-division and replaced by fraud. So I thought I throw out some tips on how to avoid being scammed through your email. After all I am somewhat of an expert as WE just got scammed last month from a bogus Facebook email.

Briefly here are some things to watch out for:

  • Awkward greeting
  • Typos
  • Bad Grammar
  • Strange links
  • Urgent language
  • Misspelled company name
    • Check the URL for misspellings, too

Anyone of these should be a red flag, but often there are more than one in a fraudulent email. Just be prudent when viewing your email.

Awkward Greeting

Any reputable company looking to keep it’s image shining knows poor wording is like going to the office without brushing your hair and/or teeth. If it looks disheveled it’s probably because it was generated by a program and spit out to thousands of email addresses such as yours.


This goes back to company image; these days the talent pool is pretty deep so companies tend to pick the cream of the crop for whatever position they intend to fill. We are all susceptible to typing errors, to be sure. Just be wary and err on the side of caution.

Bad Grammar

Here is an example of the computer generated comments I get on this web site:

To tell the truth this is an excellent indepth report even so as with all excellent writers there are many factors that could be worked well upon. But never the actual much less it was stimulating

This example is pretty easy to spot. Emails usually won’t be this bad. But it may be more obvious that the writer may not have a great command of the English language.

Strange Links

When in doubt, delete. More malware and spyware come via links in emails than some subversive governments can shake a stick at. If there is a phone number in the email you can always make a call first (without giving out personal info, of course). If the number looks anything like this 0112341*******, forget it. It’s an international call to Nigeria.

Urgent Language

Pushy salespeople are not alone when someone needs to make a sale regardless of how it affects you personally. The Rolling Stones penned the line “Time is on Your Side”, and it is. Just because it’s seems somewhat compelling on their side does not mean you need to let your guard down; it’s a tactic for you to make hurried and bad decisions. If you’re like me you’re probably reading emails in the comfort of a great chair you paid a lot of money for. Take your time, enjoy your chair and decide on your time how urgent that email really is.

Misspelled Company Name or URL

For those of us on Facebook or Google+ we’ve all seen the test where you read a familiar phrase only to find out there may be a number or wrong letter(s) in the phrase. That’s what phishers rely on; familiarity with a common name – you see what you expect to see, not what’s actually there.

When researching this on it became increasingly evident that this is a common practice and easily done. Hit that link now please.

If you go back to that URL I did for Big Box Bank, fraud is misspelled. It could have just as easily been the name of the bank. As I said, phishers rely on you seeing what you expect to see, not what’s really there. Clicking a link like this can potentially send you to a bank look alike site where you input all your personal/banking info and then you can kiss that Mediterranean cruise goodbye.

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