Many of the items sent to consumers in boxes these days are little more than junk mail. But BBB warns a growing number of spam emails are designed to inflict harm. While it may seem like this topic comes up frequently, unfortunately, scammers find a way to catch users off guard.
Right after the Target store hacking of some 40 million credit and debit cards, BBB issued a warning about emails claiming to be from Target but were disguised as malware designed to steal identity information. The warning was issued in light of all the scam emails on internet right now. The hard part is telling the difference between a legitimate email from a vendor you do subscribe to and one that looks like the vendor but isn’t.
Here’s a sampling: News reports stated right after Christmas an email was sent claiming to be from the Apple Security Center seeking account verification information. But the email address of the sender was not Apple so clicking on the link may have infected recipient’s computer. So how do you know?
Check for misspellings and grammatical errors. Silly mistakes and sloppy copy – for example, an area code that doesn’t match an address – often are giveaways that the site is a scam. Messaging like, “Just tell us where to send this $1,100”or “a delivery was cancelled because of problems with the mailing addressed and to please provide a correct address” is another giveaway. Companies typically do not use this type of language.
A recent trend in scam emails are asking users to select a link on a state where they are to send the money or to send the correct address. This link will then lead to a site where a thief will use the information for their own use. It isn’t wise to select the links or open attachments in emails you aren’t familiar with especially ones you haven’t solicited from. When in doubt, check with the company before you respond to any website that asks you to enter personal identifying information.
Bottom line, unless you’ve done business with the company or are on a mailing list with them – do not click on email links even if they appear to be from legitimate companies. Far too many times these days, it’s all just a scam.
Start with a business you can trust. Visit bbb.org.