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Don’t Click That Link! 10 Signs You’re About to Be Scammed

A VPN is an essential component of IT security, whether you’re just starting a business or are already up and running. Most business interactions and transactions happen online and VPN
10 signs

While the internet brings numerous daily benefits to our lives, it also harbors a nefarious side—scamming. An estimated 3.4 billion spam emails are sent daily. At OEC Fiber, we prioritize your online safety and security. Our technicians and online security experts work diligently, but safeguarding against scams in your email, social media, texts or web browser requires your vigilance.

We are highlighting ten common signs of scams. Awareness of these signs can empower you to navigate the online world with knowledge and caution.

Emails Arrive in Your Inbox at Strange Times

Many email scams originate from outside the United States in different time zones. It should set off warning bells when receiving emails in the middle of the night. Suppose a hacker has taken over the email account of someone you know and sent you an email at a strange time from them. That’s another indication to be suspicious—and extra careful.

Email Address Irregularities  

While scammers can easily disguise themselves in the Subject Lines of emails, it’s much more challenging to establish an email address that fits the company, government agency or other entity they are pretending to be. No legitimate major company or agency would use addresses to conduct business with @yahoo.com, @gmail.com or other free email services.

Grammar and Spelling Mistakes

Scammers are notoriously bad spellers with poor command of the English language. Astute and vigilant email users should note that misspelled words or blatant grammatical errors are common signs of a phishing attack, and you should ignore the email.

Fishy Attachments and Files

Beware of messages with odd or intentionally vague attachments. Attachments marked “Invoice “or “Shipping Notification” are particularly common—especially if you are not expecting either from a vendor. Another signal includes the file type employed in the message, such as zip and Microsoft Word document files. Some email programs or services automatically scan such files for viruses, but if you’re suspicious, ignore the message.

Urgent Demands

Another common trick many scammers employ to grab your attention involves demanding action from you, often with an overwhelming sense of urgency. “Time is short!” “Respond immediately!” “Your reward expires in one hour!” These are examples of demands designed to pique your interest and get you to click suspicious links.

Requests for Your Personal and/or Financial Information

You should ignore emails from any source requesting you enter your personal or financial information. Most companies will never ask you to enter such information through email. Still trying to figure out what to do? Contact the company directly before entering your information.

If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

Phishing scammers have taken a play out of junk mail schemes dating back decades, promising rewards and riches if you act now. From dangling Amazon gift cards or cash prizes, these fraudsters know how to grab your eyes with false promises and snag your bank account information through them.

Phony Delivery Notifications

Fake delivery notifications are a common text message scam. Getting a text notification when you are not expecting a delivery may indicate a scam. Even if you are expecting it, proceed with caution. Before clicking on the message, remember how the online vendors you usually use (e.g., Amazon) typically contact you. Ignore all other types of notification.

Surveys About Major Topics of the Day

Watch out for emails asking you to respond to surveys unless you know the source. Familiar topical surveys relate to COVID-19 vaccines and other public health matters. Again, scammers are trying to get your attention to get you to click.

Strange Greetings and/or Tone in Emails 

Watch for overly generic greetings like “Dear Friend.” Or if they use your email address instead of your name in the greeting! Also, consider the tone of the email. If it comes from a familiar email address but doesn’t sound like the person you know, don’t respond. Or the email may be geared toward subjects or purchases that are irrelevant to you. When in doubt, trust your gut.

Scams are everywhere, but you can avoid them with some extra attention. This guide will help you avoid phishing and other scams and make you feel more confident when utilizing the internet. For more valuable tips and advice about staying safe online, check out Cybersecurity 101 and Social Media Safety on our blog.

 

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