Or news that a long-lost relative has left you millions. The only catch is that you need to pay a few thousand dollars to help them transfer it… BUT you would be rewarded with oodles of money when it was all done. While we laugh about it now, unfortunately, these were scams that duped people out of thousands of dollars.
Since then, the scammers have become trickier and in 2020 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had over 200,000 reports that estimated $176 million lost by Australians to scams. With $34 million directly lost through email scams. This is a loss and definitely something we want to avoid, so that leads us to the question… what can you do about it?
5 simple tips you can use to identify a suspect email!
Avoid a possible scam by following these 5 tips!
1. Look at the email address, not just the name of the sender
Is it from a company that you’re familiar with or is it something that anyone could have made?
Does the domain (the part after the @ symbol) look legitimate, or is it a @google.com for example that anyone could make?
2. Spelling matters
I’m not talking about if people use the British or American spelling for a word; I’m talking about if the name of the organisation is spelt correctly. If the domain name is the correct spelling. Often people can use tricky letter combinations to make them look like other letters such as ‘m’ being written as ‘rn’ from a quick glace it’s often a mistake that isn’t spotted.
Again it’s not about details its more about if things make sense. Does it flow? Does it seem like someone may have cut and pasted the text?
4. Attachments or Links
Does it include any suspicious attachments or links? If you must click a link or open an attachment WAIT before you click anything. Hover the mouse over the link or the attachment and see if it’s going to take you to a legitimate site or somewhere else.
5. There is a ticking time limit
You must reply NOW or you’re going to be fined billions! Okay so that’s a bit dramatic but you get the idea. Often these emails will create a sense of urgency because if you’re rushing, chances are you’re not going to be paying as much attention to the details and you won’t realise it’s a scam.
When all else fails go old school and contact the sender who contacted you in a phone call or through sending a new email (not replying to the suspicious email!) and get them to verify the email is legit.