Is this email fake?
Once of the most common things I am asked is about the legitimacy of emails that people sometimes receive. My wife honestly thought it last night when she opened an email from the “CRA”. The internet can be a scary place and you don’t always know who you can trust. Over half of all internet traffic are bots so it is a numbers game to try and dupe people out of money. Most people wont fall for it, but there will always be some. These are called phishing scams and they also come in the way of texts and phone calls as well.
Here are my top 5 phishing scams I have seen…
- The old classic Nigerian Prince want to give YOU his gold. What are the odds right? But somebody obviously fell for it right? 100% Fake!
- Netflix or your Bank want you to reset your password. 99% Fake!
- A short oddly worded email from someone you know asking you do them a favour or to click on a link. Best to ask them if they actually sent it.
- Somebody claiming they are interested in your services via email and ask if you take credit cards. Upon replying saying you do, they will ask for some sort of favour as they are in the hospital or something. Don’t trust it! 100% Fake!
- Well this one is awkward, but here we go. Somebody claims they “caught you” doing an activity on the internet, that you don’t want others to know about. They will keep you secret safe for some Bitcoin. Unless you have a scheming roommate, partner, enemy, etc this is 100% fake. I had a bit of an embarrassing call with a client where the though he was caught, until I pointed out he had no camera. There was some awkward silence and he thanked me and hung up.
The key is just not to reply. If you do, they send you more fake stuff.
What are bots? and what do they want with me?
Don’t take it personal, bots are computer software designed to perform tasks and to react accordingly. Basically AI (artificial intelligence) to go as far down the process as possible without any human interaction. Not all bots are bad either. Google uses them to discover new sites on the internet and to crawl your website pages in order get them found. Basically if a bot found your email address online, it adds you to a list of potential suckers (without your permission) .
How to tell if an email is real or not
Here are a couple tips on ways to check.
- Check the reply-to email. If it is not coming from the url of the business it claims to be, it is likely a scam. Netflix isn’t going to use a gmail address.
- Put your mouse over the link they want you to click on and if it is not the url of the business, it is likely fake.
- Take a generic portion of the threat part of the email and copy/paste into google. If it is a scam, you will likely see others
How to protect yourself
- Use a strong passwords for your accounts
- Only open attachments from trusted sources.
- Don’t be putting your email address up in public places. Better to use a form to direct inquires to a hidden emails address.
- Install an anti-virus/ anti-malware software
The internet is a scary place and expect people to try and rip you off. If you think something might be fake, it probably is. Be careful out there. Thanks for reading.