We have all heard about email scams of one variety or another, to the point that it makes us wonder how they still exist. Well, not only are these scams still lurking out there but they are getting more pronounced and bold. In fact, these scams have evolved from simply asking you to send money to some unknown person in Africa so you can gain access to inheritance to receiving an actual extortion email.
Yes, people are getting so bold as to send a complete stranger an email demanding money or else. Now that you know such a concept exists, it is important to understand how to avoid email scams altogether.
One type of extortion email that seems to be trending today, is the one that reads “malware has been installed on your computer”, or something of the like. This has allowed the sender of the email, so the scam goes, to capture video of the recipient viewing “less than ideal” videos. If money is not sent by a certain date, then that video will be released to the public. The payment is usually requested in some type of cryptocurrency.
What makes this email scam so believable is that the scammer actually associates a password that was previously used for that specific person’s account. This would have been a password what was long ago compromised and was probably changed anyway. In a nutshell, these type of extortion requests using stolen passwords is not credible. Do not believe them. You can always copy a line or two from the email itself and put it into an Internet search engine. You will likely see many examples of the same email popping up right there.
If you want to avoid email scams, you must first understand how to spot them. One of the primary reasons that these efforts have proven so effective in the past is that they look so real. It is easy to fall for the trap that these emails lead you down. However, you can avoid becoming a victim of such scams if you are vigilant and know what to be on the lookout for.
There are a number of email hoaxes that try to demand money for the recipient. They may also threaten you if you do not follow through with their demands. That is your first clue that this is a scam. Such email campaigns typically indicate a threat that is not legitimate. This is accomplished by way of an attack that results in a denial of service message being generated. Alternatively, physical violence may be threatened, or the sender might threaten to disclose sensitive information that has supposedly been obtained through malware infections placed on the recipient’s computer. This is designed to make you fearful and succumb to the demand to send the individual the money that they request.
These types of emails are full of threats that the sender never actually intends on following through with. You will want to keep that in mind. However, it is important that you identify these emails as being nothing more than a hoax in order to avoid getting sucked into the trap that is being laid for you. At the same time, you want to carefully inspect any type of malicious email just to make sure there is not actually some grain of truth to what is being said. As such, you can best protect yourself from scam emails by having a set procedure in place for dealing with threats as they come in.
There are a couple of things that can clue you into whether or not an email that you have received is actually a hoax. One indicator is if you see that the email has been sent to many recipients all at once. You may also notice that generic language is used in the email and that there are not really any specific details to go by. Another indication that it is a hoax is that the demand for payment is urgent, giving you little time to even act upon the demand in the first place.
When you do receive an email that you think is a hoax, you will first want to verify the accuracy of the claims or threats being made. To do this, start by looking to see if the email actually contains any specific language related to you. If the language is generic or seems to just be mass mailed to a bunch of people, then you can probably check it off as a scam.
You can also search for various keywords or parts of the email online. This includes the sender’s email. There are many sites that allow users to go online and report on the scam emails that they have received. This will help you in your efforts to avoid becoming a victim of your own.
An experienced IT service company like ECS + My IT can provide the necessary diagnostics and upgrades to help you avoid scams like this.
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