|5 tips to spot email fraud|
While being one of the most useful business tools ever invented, email can also be a hinderance. Because of its generally open nature, when anyone can get an email address, criminals have taken their operations online in the form of email frauds or scams. This can be a big issue for business owners, and knowing how to determine if an email is legitimate or not is important.
Here’s five tips to help you spot email frauds or scams.
Look at the email address
Sophisticated scammers will actually try to copy the legitimate company’s email account – a practice called spoofing. They will usually have a few changes like a missing letter from the address, or an extra . added.
The easiest thing you can do is look for the sender’s site on the Internet. For example: You get an email from AMEX OPEN (American Express’s small business credit card) and notice that the sender’s email address just doesn’t look right. Go to Google and search for amex fraud. You’ll likely find the fraud page which tells you exactly how the company sends emails. If the sender is a smaller company, most of these will have email contact addresses right on the site, take a look and compare the two. If they are different, the email is likely a scam.
Look at the sender’s website
If you find a website, click through some pages to see if there is anything that looks out of place. For example a website selling a new financial service has pages with Coming Soon or you get errors when you try to load the page. If it looks fishy, it likely is – delete the email.
It would also be a good idea to go to archive.org’s Wayback Machine, copy and paste the website’s URL into the The Wayback Machine Search bar and hit Take me back. This will bring up previous versions of the website. If you see that the site in question was something completely different a few months to a year ago (e.g., it is a financial services page now, but six months ago it was a page selling prescription drugs), chances are high it’s a fraud.
Similarly, if you call a local number of a supposedly small business and get routed directly to voicemail, it’s likely fraud.
Look carefully at the body of the message
You should also look for spelling errors, grammar mistakes or inconsistencies. While some fraudulent emails will have minor spelling inconsistencies, others will spell common words wrong. If you see mistakes like ‘our product are a great deals’, this should raise a warning flag.
Spelling and grammar errors are a part of business communication, so don’t expect a perfect email from all companies, especially if you see that the company is located overseas. It’s the emails with mistakes supposedly coming from companies in your area that should really raise alarm.
The sender asks for money or passwords
Email fraud is a big deal, and unfortunately it will likely become even more common in the near future. This means you should be able to spot potentially fraudulent emails. If you think an email is a scam, it’s best to just delete it immediately. Don’t respond or forward it to colleagues or employees. If you need to let people know, write another email that describes the suspected email but has no links. You can also forward a screenshot to your colleagues or friends to illustrate the scam.
Looking for more ways you can protect your company? Contact us today. We can work with you to develop a security system that will meet your needs.
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