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Email scams have become one of the most common methods for a less than reputable person or company to defraud an innocent online user and the worst part of all is that these nameless, faceless attacks can be launched against you at any time, from any place in the world.

These scams are typically geared towards persuading the reader of the email to part with important personal and financial information. The emails direct the reader to a site that appears to be reputable and asks them to share their credit card information and other highly sensitive financial records.

Identity theft, loss of crucial financial credentials, these are major issues that can crop up and destroy a person’s entire existence and all it takes is one false move for everything that you’ve built to be taken away. How do you avoid these email scams and keep yourself safe? Read on to learn more.

No replying to spam emails

Even opening a spam email can be a somewhat risky endeavor, but replying to them is even worse. Should you receive a spam email that asks you to provide information about your bank account or requests an update on any personal financial information, this is a huge red flag. Report the email as spam and if you are uncertain about its origin, contact your financial institution to ensure that they are not the sender.

Reading emails on blackberry
[Image credit: “BlackBerry email on the BB 8330” by Ian Lamont, used under CC BY / Slight color filters added, image slightly cropped]

Do not follow any links

One of the more common methods used by email scammers is providing a link to a website that seems reputable. Once the user clicks on the link to the website, they are asked for their credit card information or another form of pertinent financial information. These links are made with the intention of defrauding you and using your sensitive financial credentials to hijack your bank account and drain it of its contents.

Avoid copying and pasting links

Suspicious web link

Deciding to copy and paste a link from a scam email into your browser can cause serious damage. These links are designed by the sender to look very legitimate, which is one of the primary reasons why so many users are susceptible to them. Even if a link looks unassuming, this is precisely what the scammers are hoping for and you will be led to a site that has been created with the purpose of stealing your financial information.

Never save or open an unfamiliar attachment

Email scams usually arrive in your inbox, looking as if they have been constructed by an extremely reputable business entity, asking for you to open just one simple attachment. Unless you are personally familiar with the sender and know that the attachments have been sent in a manner that is legitimate, do not open them for any reason. Otherwise, you are risking the wellbeing of both your finances and your personal and/or work computer.

Leave sensitive information out of your emails
Filling in login on mobile phone

There is almost no situation in life that will require you to part with sensitive financial or personal information, especially over an email correspondence. When in doubt, keep any personal information that could lead to you being the victim of a scam out of your emails, as there is typically no reason for that sort of information to be shared over the internet.

Safeguard your computer to the fullest extent

Security measures can be taken before the scammers have a chance to attack. Firewalls, antivirus software and antispyware can all be used to provide your computer with the protection necessary to keep scammers at bay. However, these programs must be updated on a regular basis once they have been installed. Updating protection software regularly helps to keep your computer safe.

Forward emails to authorities

Let your email provider know that you are receiving spam emails by checking the box that indicates spam. If the criminals are using the name of a reputable business in order to scam innocent users, send copies of the emails to them and make phone calls when needed. By being proactive, you just may save the next person’s financial life.

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