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Question of the Month – December

Question: How Can I Tell if an Email is a Scam?

Answer: As email spam hits new highs and con artists get increasingly deceptive, more and more people are falling for scam emails. How can you stay one step ahead of the cheats and maintain your safety at all times? Here are four things that are dead giveaways an email is fake.

Misspelled words and poor grammar
One prime indication that an email is not legitimate is that it contains grammar, spelling, or misplaced punctuation marks. Companies like PayPal simply don’t make mistakes of this nature. As such, if you receive an email that is purportedly from PayPal that contains errors, send it straight to the trash bin.

You’re told to act immediately
If you receive an email that tells you to take immediate action, such as clicking on a link or downloading a file, think twice. The file may contain a virus, and the link may take you to a fake site that is designed to get your account information. Instead, call the customer service department of the company that supposedly sent the email. Don’t call the number on the email, look it up online. The customer service team will help you to determine if the email is authentic.

You’re asked to provide personal information or visit a certain website
Some scam emails are designed to try and access your login details for a given website. In such cases, you’ll be informed that there is an issue with your account and asked to provide your login credentials. Don’t. Instead, contact the customer service team as per the advice above. Scammers often use URL cloaking. This basically involves disguising a website address to make it look like that of a recognized company. Before clicking on any links, right click on them, choose “Copy Link Location,” and then paste the link into a word processor. You can then compare the link to the company’s real website address.