You hear these kinds of stories in the local news all the time. Some innocent elderly person, who we will call grandpa, receives a phone call asking for some small donation or claiming to be some bill agent looking for information. Grandpa freely provides whatever financial information or even his social security number as requested. After a few days, grandpa’s savings or checking accounts report mysterious withdrawals. Later you find that grandpa bought some high priced electronics. It’s the nightmare no one wants.
Similar situations occur with email. They give various reasons for requesting personal information. These emails take many forms. They appear to come from a local utility, phone company, or a package delivery firm. The bodies of their emails look very official. They even provide a friendly link to take you to the right website page. The worst ones have a friend or business associate’s name in the “from” section.
Maybe it’s just me, but I am always suspicious of emails requesting information. Let’s dissect one of these emails, so I can show you what to look for.
Here is a list of areas I look at when I receive an email requesting information. If it’s not met to my satisfaction, I hit the delete key.
• Check where the email is coming from. The email address should make sense to you. It’s not a guarantee it’s legit, though.
• Something else that triggers me is looking at the email addresses under the “To” section. It should only have my email address plain as day.
• Spelling does count.
• How about that friendly link? DON’T CLICK ON IT! I should be able to tell what organization sent the email. With that information, go to the website and log into it. If that’s not the case, delete at will, my friend.
Emails are the easiest way for bad guys to reach out and touch you. The amount of damage done can be in the thousands of dollars. The victim’s credit is ruined. As previously stated, it’s a nightmare to clean up. Multi-million dollar companies have been brought to their knees by employees falling for these emails. Stay vigilant and don’t fall victim to them.