Fraudulent

Signs That an Email Is Fraudulent

Signs That an Email Is Fraudulent

In the modern world, we can’t live without email. But sadly, it has become a tool for cybercriminals that we need to be ever on our guard against.

There are a number of ways to spot a fraudulent email. Train yourself to not take emails for granted by looking at the points listed below.

1. The “From” Address

This should be from a site you recognize, and not a free site like Yahoo or Gmail. Hit reply to email the sender back and see what happens. If it bounces, it is in violation of CAN-SPAM email regulations that require each emailer to have a viable return email address.

2. Is the Greeting Strange?

Does it read as though it was written by a native speaker of English? Is it personalized, or just a hi? Most legitimate online marketers will use personalization.

3. Are There Obvious Misspellings?

Check the From field, subject line, greeting, and opening paragraph. If there are errors, chances are the email is from overseas and could be a scam.

4. Is There Contact Information at the Bottom of the Email?

A full, legitimate mailing address is also required under the CAN-SPAM laws.

5. Are Dates in the Email Recent?

Some scams will get run over and over again and may have an old back date.

6. Is the Brand or Company Name Spelled Correctly?

Misspellings of either of these are a strong sign that the email is a scam.

7. Does the Link URL Included in the Email Look Right?

Scam emails will want to send you over to a URL to get phished or infected with malware and so on. If it is not a URL you are familiar with or it is misspelled, don’t click.

8. Does the Link Take You to a Legitimate-Looking Page?

Spoof emails regarding banking and PayPal are all too common, as cyberthieves try to steal your security information and access your hard-earned cash. If the site looks odd in any way, click out. Also make sure the URL has https:// in front, which shows a higher level of security that most phishing sites won’t have.

9. Beware of Images

A lot of malicious code is snuck onto computers through images in emails. Set your email client such as Outlook to suppress the images in an email. Only view images from a trusted source.

10. Never Open an Attachment

This is another way cybercriminals try to sneak malicious items onto your computer.

11. Keep Your Antivirus Software Up to Date

Get a reliable program like Norton 360 or McAfee. If you have Kaspersky on your computer, delete it and get Norton or McAfee. Kaspersky is known for having multiple security issues. Once you have Norton or McAfee installed, take the time to upload all the updates and schedule the program to update itself automatically so you are always covered against the latest threats.

12. Asking for Too Much Information

No bank or financial institution like PayPal will ever ask for personal details such as your password, social security number, and so on.

13. Bad Presentation

If the email looks ragged and unprofessional, it is probably spam or a phishing email.

14. Phony “Official” Language

Some emails will try to make it seem as if they are important and come from some sort of official body in order to try to intimidate you into taking the action they are insisting upon in the email. Most legitimate government entities will not be sending you email.

15. Time-Sensitive Emails

Emails that try to push you into taking action quickly for fear of some consequences when the time runs out will also usually be scams to try to bully you into doing something foolish.

If you suspect you have a scam email, report it here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing

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Signs That a Website Is Fraudulent

Signs That a Website Is Fraudulent

Cybercrime is on the rise, so it is more important than ever to protect yourself from fraudulent websites. There are a number of things to look out for in order to keep you and your family safe from the many online scams being run.

What Is a Fraudulent Website?

A fraudulent website can be defined as one that is fake, set up in order to run some sort of scam or phish for sensitive private information, with a view to defrauding site visitors or even stealing their identities.

Fortunately, there are a number of telltale signs to watch out for.

Signs That a Website Is Suspicious

1. The domain name

Fraudulent sites will usually use a domain name similar to a reputable company or brand name. There have been many scam sites based around Amazon.com, for example. They might include a brand name in the URL, such as AdidasBargains.com, but not be affiliated with the company in any way.

2. No contact information posted prominently

Honest websites have nothing to hide, so you will usually see some form of contact information posted at the site prominently, such as name, address, phone and email. Google requires this data to be obvious in order to include a site in their search engine results pages. If you don’t see a physical location as well as virtual contact data, steer clear.

3. Spelling and grammatical errors

Sometimes the URL looks legitimate apart from a spelling error. In other cases, the content at the site will be badly written. A lot of scam sites try to pose as American or Canadian companies in order to make consumers feel a false sense of security. Poor mechanics is a sign of overseas cybercriminals trying to con you.

4. Check the WHOIS registration for the domain

Not all of the data is completely visible; some pay more for secure accounts. In general, however, Network Solutions is the best place to see who owns the domain and where it is being administered from. Go to https://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp and put in the URL of the site you suspect. Check to see the location where it has been registered and the creation date to see how long it has been registered for. Scam sites are usually made on the fly and disappear just as quickly.

5. Try the phone number listed

WHOIS should list a phone number. Call it to see if it works. If it is an answer machine, the number is not in service, or no one ever answers during business hours, it is more than likely a scam. It might also be a website hosting service where the domain is parked, in which case there will be no way to contact actual staff for the site. Again, steer clear.

6. Look for the “s” in https://

This shows it is a secure site. If there is no “s”, then the site is not secure and others can access your sensitive information. Google will not list sites that do not have https:// certification.

7. Run a Google search

See if the site has any reviews or if people are complaining it is a scam. Also, see if it shows up in search engine results.

8. Check the links on Google

If it is a legitimate site, it will usually have links pointing to it from other websites. If the only thing that shows up is the domain name, steer clear.

9. Beware phishing emails

These will often look like they come from PayPal or your bank, but there will be something off about the URL and it won’t always look identical to the usual log-in page.

Go to https://www.usa.gov/online-safety to learn more about safety and report any scam site you come across.

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