It seems like a new email scam gets loose every day. Unfortunately, many target older people who don’t have a lot of experience with the Internet, and who tend to be more trusting than younger users.
For those of us who are more experienced, dealing with spam and scam emails are a huge time-waster. For example, I receive more than 500 emails a day — but only about 10-20 are real. The rest are scams designed to trick me into giving them my personal, banking and other confidential information.
How can you help your elderly loved one tell the difference between real and scam emails?
7 quick tips to help you spot scam emails.
TIP #1 – The IRS, Social Security and Medicare NEVER ask anyone to send or confirm personal information by email. If you receive an email that looks like it’s from them, it is a clever fake, regardless of how authentic it looks. That’s still true even if the email includes the last 4 digits of your Social Security number.
These fakes often threaten you with terrible consequences if you don’t comply with their demands. Remember, if the IRS, Social Security or Medicare has a problem with your account, they will first contact you with a letter via the U.S. Mail. So, if you receive one of these emails, DELETE it without opening it. And, absolutely don’t click on any link in it.
TIP #2 – Scammers have recently put together an email that looks like it’s from a bank or credit card company. It says something like, “Your account has been frozen.” Then, the email goes on to say that, to unfreeze your account, you must verify your personal information by clicking on the enclosed link. Again, this is a clever fake. DELETE it without opening it, and absolutely don’t click on any link in the email.
TIP #3 – If you receive an email from your bank asking you to verify information, don’t click on links in the email, regardless of what the email says. Instead, go directly to your bank’s website. Or call their toll-free customer service number on the back of your debit/credit card.
TIP #4 – Is the email from a friend or from a company you do business with? If not, delete it without opening it. This simple action will get rid of most scam emails.
TIP #5 – Is the email is from a company you do business with, or want to do business with? First, check the sender’s email address, specifically the part after the @ symbol. The name of the company (or a clear abbreviation of it) should be in that section. If it isn’t, or if that part looks suspicious, delete the email without opening it.
TIP #6 – Scammers use the subject line is designed to entice or scare you into responding. Example: Subject Line: Extra Cash. Earn Facebook Revenue. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Delete it without opening it.
TIP #7 – Most fraudulent emails offer you the opportunity to unsubscribe to keep from getting any more emails from them. Don’t fall for it. If you do, all you’ll be doing is verifying that your email address is valid. The result: you will get more – not fewer – scam emails.
More Scams – More Scams That Target Seniors