How To Spot An E-Mail Hoax
Because internet scams abound, it is important to be able to protect yourself by knowing how to spot an email hoax. Internet scams can yield large profits for scammers, but large losses for you. Learn what to watch out for and enjoy your time online without becoming the victim of an email hoax.
- Beware of unsolicited emails. If you receive emails when you do not know the sender or have a relationship with the company emailing you, proceed with caution. When necessary, do your research by searching for more information or checking with the Better Business Bureau.
- If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. For example, if you didn't enter a contest, you didn't win. Spot the email hoax and resist the temptation to get excited over false claims of an email sender.
- An email that requires urgent or secretive action on your part could be an email hoax. Email scammers create a false sense of urgency to get you to act before seriously evaluating the contents of their email. Senders may urge secrecy so that no one has the opportunity to tell you that their email hoax doesn't sound right. Take the time to seriously consider the information you receive before proceeding.
- Requests for money or personal information could lead to theft. Even if you have business with this sender or business, proceed with caution. Keep in mind that the sender may not be who they claim to be. Verify that the person is who they say they are before responding. Don't follow links in emails to sites to provide or verify your information, but go to official website or use the official contact, independently of the information of the email, of the party making the request.
- Beware of downloads. Don't follow links in the email, and don't open documents or downloads. Avoid computer viruses by refraining from opening documents or downloading information that may be unsecured.
Spot email hoaxes by identifying senders that you don't know or may be making false representations about their identity or affiliation. Use good judgment and don't get fooled into going for something that is too good to be true. Regard requests for secrecy and quick action, and/or money and personal information, with suspicion and spot potential email hoaxes.