Avoid Unsafe E-Mail and Scams - dummies

By Nancy C. Muir, Linda Criddle

Most e-mail scams and spam (uninvited messages, often sent to a large audience in an attempt to sell something) are easy to spot. Learn these common red flags to help you recognize e-mail scams:

  • You don’t know the person sending the e-mail.

  • The claims sound too good to be true.

  • Someone is promising to send you money or a prize.

  • A financial institution or store asks for your account information or password.

  • You’re asked to click on a link in the e-mail or download a file.

  • The message has misspellings or sounds unprofessional.

The more dangerous scams are the ones that look like they might be legitimate. These e-mails look like they’re from a company you have an account with, but are fake. Navigate safely through these types of scams by following a couple basic guidelines:

  • Be very skeptical if you receive an e-mail that looks like it is from your bank, broker, or other trusted company but asks you to verify or re-enter personal or financial information through 1-mail, a website it directs you to, or a phone number it provides.

  • Follow this rule: “Drive, don’t be pulled.” Don’t let a link in an e-mail “pull” you to a site of the sender’s choosing. Instead, navigate to the legitimate site on your own by looking up the URL (web address) in a search engine or on an old bill. Stay safe by always navigating to websites yourself.