- Email Spam
- Scam emails
- The “Nigerian” Email Scam
Unwanted commercial email – also known as “spam” – can be annoying. Worse, it can include bogus offers that could cost you time and money. Take steps to limit the amount of spam you get, and treat spam offers the same way you would treat an uninvited telemarketing sales call. Don’t believe promises from strangers. Learn to recognize the most common online scams.
How Can I Reduce the Amount of Spam I Get?
Use an email filter.
Check your email account to see if it provides a tool to filter out potential spam or to channel spam into a bulk email folder. You might want to consider these options when you’re choosing which Internet Service Provider (ISP) or email service to use.
Limit your exposure.
You might decide to use two email addresses — one for personal messages and one for shopping, newsletters, chat rooms, coupons and other services. You also might consider using a disposable email address service that forwards messages to your permanent account. If one of the disposable addresses begins to receive spam, you can shut it off without affecting your permanent address.
Also, try not to display your email address in public. That includes on blog posts, in chat rooms, on social networking sites, or in online membership directories. Spammers use the web to harvest email addresses.
Check privacy policies and uncheck boxes.
When submitting your email address to a website, look for pre-checked boxes that sign you up for email updates from the company and its partners. Some websites allow you to opt out of receiving these mass emails.
Choose a unique email address.
Your choice of email addresses may affect the amount of spam you receive. Spammers send out millions of messages to probable name combinations at large ISPs and email services, hoping to find a valid address. Thus, a common name such as jdoe may get more spam than a more unique name like j26d0e34. Of course, there is a downside – it’s harder to remember an unusual email address.
How Can I Help Reduce Spam for Everyone?
Hackers and spammers troll the internet looking for computers that aren’t protected by up-to-date security software. When they find unprotected computers, they try to install hidden software – called malware – that allows them to control the computers remotely.
Many thousands of these computers linked together make up a “botnet ,“ a network used by spammers to send millions of emails at once. Millions of home computers are part of botnets. In fact, most spam is sent this way.
Don’t let spammers use your computer.
You can help reduce the chances that your computer will become part of a botnet:
- Use good computer security practices and disconnect from the internet when you’re away from your computer. Hackers can’t get to your computer when it’s not connected to the internet.
- Be cautious about opening any attachments or downloading files from emails you receive. Don’t open an email attachment — even if it looks like it’s from a friend or coworker — unless you are expecting it or you know what it is. If you send an email with an attached file, include a message explaining what it is.
- Download free software only from sites you know and trust. It can be appealing to download free software – like games, file-sharing programs, and customized toolbars. But remember that free software programs may contain malware.
Detect and get rid of malware.
It can be difficult to tell if a spammer has installed malware on your computer, but there are some warning signs:
- Your friends may tell you about weird email messages they’ve received from you.
- Your computer may operate more slowly or sluggishly.
- You may find email messages in your sent folder that you didn’t send.
If your computer has been hacked or infected by a virus, disconnect from the internet right away. Then take steps to remove malware.
Forward unwanted or deceptive messages to:
- the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include the complete spam email.
- your email provider. At the top of the message, state that you’re complaining about being spammed. Some email services have buttons that allow you to mark messages as junk mail or report them spam.
- the sender’s email provider, if you can tell who it is. Most web mail providers and ISPs want to cut off spammers who abuse their system. Again, make sure to include the entire spam email and say that you’re complaining about spam.
If you try to unsubscribe from an email list and your request is not honored, file a complaint with the FTC.
Source: Consumer FTC
<p1″>Help disrupt fraudsters by reporting scam emails that you receive. People receiving scam emails are urged to report them.
The reports received by Action Fraud will be forwarded to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau run by the City of London Police for collation and analysis. This will enable crucial intelligence to be gathered and preventative action to be taken. The activity will seek to disrupt the fraudsters and close down the links between them and the victim.
Last year (January 2015 – December 2015) we received on average 8,000 reports per month, with 96,699 people reporting that they had received a phishing scam.
What should you do if you’ve received a scam email?
- Do not click on any links in the scam email.
- Do not reply to the email or contact the senders in any way.
- If you have clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open.
- Do not open any attachments that arrive with the email.
If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank.
If you’ve been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud.
Fake emails often (but not always) display some of the following characteristics:
- The sender’s email address doesn’t tally with the trusted organisation’s website address.
- The email is sent from a completely different address or a free web mail address.
- The email does not use your proper name, but uses a non-specific greeting like “dear customer”.
- A sense of urgency; for example the threat that unless you act immediately your account may be closed.
- A prominent website link. These can be forged or seem very similar to the proper address, but even a single character’s difference means a different website.
- A request for personal information such as user name, password or bank details.
- The email contains spelling and grammatical errors.
- You weren’t expecting to get an email from the company that appears to have sent it.
- The entire text of the email is contained within an image rather than the usual text format.
- The image contains an embedded hyperlink to a bogus site.
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Source: Action Fraud UK
Phishing scams are attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out personal information such as your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers.
How does this scam work?
A scammer contacts you out of the blue pretending to be from a legitimate business such a bank, telephone or internet service provider. You may be contacted by email, social media, phone call, or text message.
The scammer asks you to provide or confirm your personal details. For example, the scammer may say that the bank or organisation is verifying customer records due to a technical error that wiped out customer data. Or, they may ask you to fill out a customer survey and offer a prize for participating.
Alternatively, the scammer may alert you to ‘unauthorised or suspicious activity on your account’. You might be told that a large purchase has been made in a foreign country and asked if you authorised the payment. If you reply that you didn’t, the scammer will ask you to confirm your credit card or bank details so the ‘bank’ can investigate. In some cases the scammer may already have your credit card number and ask you to confirm your identity by quoting the 3 or 4 digit security code printed on the card.
Phishing messages are designed to look genuine, and often copy the format used by the organisation the scammer is pretending to represent, including their branding and logo. They will take you to a fake website that looks like the real deal, but has a slightly different address. For example, if the legitimate site is ‘www.realbank.com.au’, the scammer may use an address like ‘www.reallbank.com’.
If you provide the scammer with your details online or over the phone, they will use them to carry out fraudulent activities, such as using your credit cards and stealing your money.
Other types of phishing scams
- Whaling and spear phishing – the scammer targets a business in an attempt to get confidential information for fraudulent purposes. To make their request appear legitimate, they use details and information specific to the business that they have obtained elsewhere.
- Pharming – the scammer redirects you to a fake version of a legitimate website you are trying to visit. This is done by infecting your computer with malware which causes you to be redirected to the fake site, even if you type the real address or click on your bookmarked link.
- You receive an email, text or phone call claiming to be from a bank, telecommunications provider or other business you regularly deal with, asking you to update or verify your details.
- The email or text message does not address you by your proper name, and may contain typing errors and grammatical mistakes.
- The website address does not look like the address you usually use and is requesting details the legitimate site does not normally ask for.
- You notice new icons on your computer screen, or your computer is not as fast as it normally is.
- Do not click on any links or open attachments from emails claiming to be from your bank or another trusted organisation and asking you to update or verify your details – just press delete.
- Do an internet search using the names or exact wording of the email or message to check for any references to a scam – many scams can be identified this way.
- Look for the secure symbol. Secure websites can be identified by the use of ‘https:’ rather than ‘http:’ at the start of the internet address, or a closed padlock or unbroken key icon at the bottom right corner of your browser window. Legitimate websites that ask you to enter confidential information are generally encrypted to protect your details.
- Never provide your personal, credit card or online account details if you receive a call claiming to be from your bank or any other organisation. Instead, ask for their name and contact number and make an independent check with the organisation in question before calling back.
Have you been scammed?
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.
Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.
Source: ScamWatch AU
The “Nigerian” Email Scam
So-called “Nigerian” email scams are characterized by convincing sob stories, unfailingly polite language, and promises of a big payoff.
These messages are the butt of late night jokes, but people still respond to them. The people behind these messages claim to be officials, businesspeople, or the surviving spouses of former government honchos in Nigeria or another country whose money is tied up temporarily. They offer to transfer lots of money into your bank account if you will pay the fees or “taxes” they need to get their money. If you respond to the initial offer, you may receive documents that look “official.” They may even encourage you to travel to the country in question, or a neighboring country, to complete the transaction. Some fraudsters have produced trunks of dyed or stamped money to try to verify their claims.
The emails are from crooks trying to steal your money or your identity. Inevitably, emergencies come up, requiring more of your money and delaying the “transfer” of funds to your account. In the end, there aren’t any profits for you, and your money is gone along with the thief who stole it. According to State Department reports, people who have responded to these emails have been beaten, subjected to threats and extortion, and in some cases, murdered.
What You Can Do:
These emails can really tug at your heartstrings and appeal to your sense of altruism. Successful scam artists know exactly how to get you to give up your money. If you get an email asking you to send money to help out a stranger, delete it. Someone is up to no good, and trying to manipulate your emotions.
If you’ve lost money to one of these schemes, call your local Secret Service field office. Local field offices are listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.
Source: Consumer FTC
Thanks Consumer FTC, Action Fraud and for reading Email Spam Scams
IMAGE: Thats Nonsense These 4 email SCAMS will try and give you malware this Christmas