How to Check Email For Scams

When you check email for scams , keep these simple rules in mind. Using these rules will help you spot scams nearly every time, no matter how sophisticated they may seem.

1. Check the Links

The most common scams involve a link that asks you to download a file or click on a website. If you click on one of these, it could automatically install malware on your computer or take you to a fake website where you’re asked for personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers and bank login credentials. Criminals use this kind of scam to steal sensitive data, and it’s often successful. For example, hackers used this exact scam to break into healthcare insurance provider Magellan’s network in early 2020 [*].

Stay Safe: How to Check Your Emails for Scams and Fraudulent Activities

If an email includes a link, hover your cursor over it to see where it takes you. Scammers frequently make these links appear to go to your online accounts, such as your online banking or cloud storage. It’s easy for people to get fooled by this, so always double-check that the link goes where it says it does.

3. Don’t Respond to Urgent Requests

A key sign of a scam is the sense of urgency that a message creates. It’s a common trick for fraudsters to try and frighten victims into acting quickly, such as by warning that they will lose access to their online account or asking for immediate payment. This trick can even be seen in the workplace when criminals impersonate colleagues to request urgent payments or personal information [*].

If you receive an email that appears to come from a colleague or company, don’t hesitate to contact them directly to confirm whether it’s genuine. If you’re not sure, disconnect your devices from your Wi-Fi and mobile network and then check the official online services for the company in question.