Delete suspicious emails to fight scammers

Delete suspicious emails to fight scammers
Email is an essential tool but it also is a way for scammers to reach victims. (Getty Images)

Email can be a convenience for doing business, but it can also be a risk if you don’t know what to look out for. It is very easy to make a message look official.

The following tips will help you avoid being scammed:

  1. Look at the address closely
    The header on the message might say that it’s from “Alabama Power” or from Bob Davis, but the actual address could be very different. If it is something like [email protected] or [email protected] then you’re not dealing with a legitimate person.

    Malicious emails can cause you to download dangerous attachments or click on fraudulent links. (Getty Images)
  2. Strange attachmentsIf you get an email from someone you don’t know, don’t just assume the attachments are all right. A file called YourBalance.pdf might pique your curiosity, but even PDFs can carry executable viruses. Opening that attachment could give someone else access to your computer, your passwords, or your banking data.
  3. Urgency If the message comes with a warning that demands immediate attention, be skeptical. Scammers know that making you anxious makes it more likely that you’ll click a link that takes you to their bogus site. They may even tell you your account has suspicious activity on it, and you need to “log in” to confirm.
    If you feel the pressure, slow down. Don’t click a link; go to the browser and type in the address to the company website from scratch.
  4. Poor spelling, bad grammarScammers can be sneaky, but they often ignore spellcheck. We aren’t saying that a perfectly spelled message is legit – but an email with bad grammar rarely is.

Odd URLs

Links are made up of two parts – the anchor text, and the destination. Example: Alabama Power is made up of “Alabama Power” and https://alabamapower.com

Now, what about https://google.com/ ?

See, that’s a trick. If you hover over the link, you’ll see that it is actually taking you to Bing. Be careful with that, too – the link for http://alabamapower-com/billing/accounts-delinquent.com does NOT take you to Alabama Power, but instead to a website found at accounts-delinquent.com.

Every day during this Utility Scam Awareness Week, Alabama NewsCenter is sharing tips to avoid common frauds. You can read tips from Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday by clicking on each day.

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