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Buyer Beware: How to Spot an Email Scam

The holiday season is here. The bright lights and festive music are all around us. Shoppers everywhere are looking for the best prices on the hottest gift items, and scammers know it. Email and text scams intensify during the holiday season due to the high traffic of online shoppers and the urge to look for deals.

Emails and text messages are two of the most common ways scammers try to get your information. There are a few telltale signs you can look for to help keep your information safe this holiday season.

 

Fishy email addresses

Just because the email says it’s from your favorite retailer doesn’t mean it’s true. Double-check the email address. Are there random periods or numbers in the name? Is it misspelled? Is a large corporation sending you something from a Gmail account? These are all ways scammers trick you into clicking links designed to harvest your information. If anything looks off about the email address, report it as a scam and move on.

Misspelled words and grammar mistakes

Pay attention to the text in your emails and text messages. While it’s possibly a typo, it could be a sign. Significant spelling and grammar errors are red flags that should be addressed. Delete it. Block it and walk away.

Weird subject lines

If you get a random email from someone you don’t regularly email with a subject line that starts with “RE:FW:” or a similar variation, DO NOT OPEN IT. Putting those at the start of a subject line is meant to lure you into a false sense of security. Unless you know that you are corresponding with the sender, leave it be.

Outrageous claims

There’s a reason the phrase “too good to be true” exists. Emails and texts advertising mindboggling deals are never what they sound like. Scammers know holiday shoppers are looking for the best deals. Receiving an exclusive offer that sounds like a godsend may be the devil in disguise. Check with the retailer through a verified channel before accepting those oh-so-tempting offers.

 

Holiday shopping is stressful enough. Don’t make it worse by falling for these common phishing scams. Stay vigilant. Trust your gut. And enjoy the holidays.

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