Will you be a victim?

This morning I arrived at the office and started to go through the emails as I do each morning.  I had  what I thought was a promising email from a potential new client.  Then the RED flags started to kick in, was this an email scam???

As long as humans have been on this earth we have been susceptible to Fraud and Schemes to part honest people with their money or things of value.  Times have not changed.  In fact we are more likely to become victims of fraud due to the technological advances we use every day.  4280254856_79bde6033e_o

How can one protect themselves from email scams:

  • Have at least two email accounts. One you only share with family and CLOSE friends. The other you share when you have to sign up for something like a newsletter or make a purchase or even fill out an application. Use this second email account for your social media accounts.
  • Keep your information as vague as possible on this second account.
  • Have a good security software installed on your computer systems and update it.
  • If something seems too good to be true it most likely is.
  • Look at the structure of the email
  • Who sent the email? .gov, .edu, .com all are possible clues.
  • Was the email sent to several people (Spamming)
  • Are their inconsistencies?
  • Google knows all or at least they think they do. Do a search for the senders email, phone number, company, name, and product or service offered. Have others files a complaint.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau. They are a great resource.
  • Do not give out personal information. If someone contacts you claiming to be your bank, Credit Card Company, doctor office, exedra they should have all your information. They do not need to ask you for anything.

The bottom line with email scam prevention is to trust but verify both in person and in cyber space.

Here are the steps I took to conduct my own due diligence on this email:

  • Red Flag number one was their email address.
  • Red Flag number two was the mass group of people who received the email.
  • I conducted a Google search of the Educational Institution.
  • I conducted a Google Search of the senders name.
  • I conducted a Google search of the senders telephone number and found it to be associated with several other people, most likely other scammers.
  • I conducted a Google search of the products being offered because we do not stock them nor advertise them for sale.  Red Flag #3 one of the products requested does not exist.
  • I contacted the product manufacturer to make arrangements to purchase the products in case it turned out this was a legitimate request.
  • I then contacted their authorized distributor who also cautioned me about the red flags and possible credit card fraud due to an increase in fraudulent acts they have recently experienced.
  • I created a PDF document with the email to point out the Red Flags for you my readers.  Click Here  Fraud Email indicators
  • I contacted the main general line for the education institution and found out they had been a victim of ongoing fraud.
  • I spoke directly to the real person in charge of purchasing at the institution and shared with them the email I received.
  • I sent a “reply all” email to each of the recipients warning them about the possible fraud and copied the purchasing person.  I also excluded the sending email.
  • Lastly I put together this blog post. Total time invested by me. 2.5 hours. Yes, it is worth it if I can assist you in not becoming a victim of Fraud.

In an upcoming blog I will show you how to detect phone and mail scams.

Would you like to know more ways to reduce your likely hood of becoming a crime victim. Contact us to arrange a Refuse to Be a Victim ® Seminar.