IN this day and age just about everyone has an email address, and everyday our email inboxes get jammed with junk mail.
I have to wade through mountains of spam to find the emails I am actually expecting. Each day I get a message from ‘my friend’, who incidentally is the Crown Prince of Nigeria.
He really wants to leave me lots of money that is sitting in an inactive account in the UK, all I have to is wire them a thousand dollars for the transfer to happen and I’ll be eighteen million pounds richer, and it seems I am the only person he can trust.
So, what am I waiting for? I’m talking about an email scam. Messages like this are ‘phishing’ emails that are sent randomly to you, in an effort to steal your information.
They’re after your passwords, banking details, usernames or any form of identification they can get out of your computer.
That is if you have taken the bait and answered their message.
Recently a message landed in my email box that told me that family members had gone overseas for a vacation and had been mugged, and they needed money to get home.
A quick glance told me it was fraudulent, simple things such as the American tone of the message was my first clue. Besides if you’d been mugged and needed help the first thing you’d do is call right?
Unfortunately and unbelievably, this message was taken to be true by one of its recipients who is now two thousand dollars poorer, with next to no chance of the money being recovered.
How is it possible that these ‘phishing’ emails could be taken seriously?
Some of them are worded badly with spelling errors and poor English, and come from dodgy email addresses.
However some are very carefully crafted, using the logo from whatever company they are pretending to be to make them look official, but if you look closely you will usually find an error. They are sent to thousands of people everyday and they do occasionally they do find their mark.
Another scam that is doing the rounds is one that is purported to be from the Federal Police.
It claims that you have committed a credit card fraud, and you guessed it, it is necessary to send them your card details to clear your name.
Wouldn’t it be a fantastic time saver for the police, if crimes could be solved via email.
That’s an email for the trash can.
A few things to remember when checking your inbox to protect yourself from scammers, is to know that the banks do not send you emails asking for your account details.
Don’t click on the links they have provided for you, more often than not you will be lead to a fake site designed to capture your information in an attempt to defraud you or give your computer a virus.
Always go directly to your banking site using its official address. When it comes down to it, any email you are not expecting could be a virus or a scam or both. If you don’t remember entering the competition that you’ve apparently won, then you probably didn’t.