I have quite a few email accounts and some of my email addresses appear on internet pages so it’s no wonder I get a lot of scam emails. I follow these simple rules when deciding if an email is a scam.
- I never rely on my anti-virus software. I do have two of the top internet security suites (not on the same machine) and whilst they capture most things, they can only detect the virus signatures they know about. New viruses (and I include all types such as trojans or worms) are invented every day. Some are variations of existing ones so they might get picked up but others are new and will not be spotted.
- I never open any attachment that I wasn’t expecting. So even if an email looked as if it comes from someone I know and it has an attachment then I won’t open it. If I’m curious enough, I might call, text or email them back to see if they sent me the file and ask why. Examples are along the lines of “Have a look at the attached, it’s really funny” or “Here’s that file you were looking for”.
- The same applies to links in emails. I never click on a link unless it is in an email newsletter that I’m subscribed to or it’s a link I was expecting (as in attachments above).
- Emails claiming to be from my bank (or even banks that I don’t have accounts with), HMRC, PayPal… (the list goes on and on) all get deleted. Banks, etc… do not send you links to click on or invoices attached unless you request them (such as using a “forgot my password link” on a website which you can usually expect an email with a link in it to get delivered to your mailbox). If you are unsure, go to your banks website and login there rather than clicking on any link in an email.
- I delete all other SPAM that gets past my anti-virus software or my Outlook mail clients SPAM detection features without reading them whether they are scamming or not. They are often quite easy to spot in the first couple of sentences; spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or over-usage of uppercase and exclamation marks.
Some other things to look out for that are scams; alarmist messages and threats of account closures, offers of working from home, asking you to forward an email, dating offers, charity requests, wire money, claim money, get rich quick or those asking for personal details. There are probably others that I’ve missed, these are the ones in my SPAM folder recently.
The important things to remember are never to click on a link or open an attachment unless you requested it. Follow that rule and you should stay safe (unless you requested a virus attachment of course).