3 Common Email Scams (and How to Avoid Them!)

Remember the old “Nigerian prince” email scheme? Well, cybercrime is a lot more complex now.

As a result, you’ll have to know how to spot email scams before it’s too late. To help you out, we’ve identified three of the biggest threats to your inbox.

Keep reading to learn about these scams and how you can avoid them!

1. Phishing

When it comes to common email scams, phishing takes the top spot. If you were to go to your spam folder right now, odds are you’d have at least a dozen phishing emails.

These emails try to get recipients to click on shady links, most of which link to malware or ransomware (which we’ll get to in a bit).

The best thing you can do is report phishing scams. If you’re not sure how to report an email scam, it’s quite easy. Head over to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website and fill out a report.

2. Imitations

You log into your email one morning to find a message from your credit card company. They say your card is suspended, as you have a massive overdue balance. Only, you’ve already paid off your balance.

So what gives? Odds are it’s a highly-efficient scam. This scam is an extension of phishing, and is far more devious, as the sender cloaks their identity under a spoofed account to establish a sense of authority.

One recent example you might be familiar with is a string of emails from “Apple” warning that your Apple ID needs resetting. Of course, they want to make things easier for you so they’ve included a handy link in the email.

These can be tricky to spot. The easiest way to avoid them is to not click on the link in the email, instead, going to the service itself. See if you can log in as normal, or if you need a reset after all.

In other instances, phishers do a poor job of spoofing the email account. Always check out the sender’s email address, as mentioned in this guide on how to avoid email scams. If it includes a random string of letters and numbers, rest assured it’s a scam.

3. Ransomware

Since determining how to spot an email scam isn’t always as easy as we’d like, you might find yourself accidentally clicking on a shady link or visiting a shadowy website. No harm was done, right?

Well, not quite.

These websites and links contain trackers that can follow your online activity and collect information about you, including your email address.

As such, you may receive an email warning you that hackers have access to your account. However, they’re willing to let it go for a sum of money.

Though most ransomware emails are empty threats, hackers can take control of your computer. If they do, the best thing you can do is fill out a report with the FTC.

Never, under any circumstances, should you pay the hackers money.

Avoid These Email Scams

In conclusion, we understand that email scams can be hard to spot. If you have any doubts whatsoever about an email or a link, your best bet is to send it to your inbox trashcan or report the sender.

Stay safe and stay vigilant. Scam emails are only going to become more commonplace, so it’s up to you to spot the fakes.

For more information on how to stay safe on the web, be sure to check back with our blog!