Spam has found its way into our lives. It is sitting in our electronic in-boxes, it calls us on the phone and is texting our mobile devices. Spam tells us that our IDs have been compromised, or we have won a trip or money and asks us for our personal information so they can verify who we are. The challenge we all face is how to identify it from real business.
What is E-mail Fraud,
“Phishing” and “Brand Spoofing”
These are attempts to get you to volunteer personal information or install malware on your computer. They fool you by using fraudulent e-mail messages and websites that look like they are from legitimate companies, such as a bank, online retailer or government agency.
The e-mail you receive may look real, with company logos and links, but you may have actually received spam from a criminal “phishing” for information.
How can you tell if an e-mail is fraudulent?
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Your bank never sends e-mails, or calls you on the phone, asking for personal information such as your credit card number, online banking password or your mother’s maiden name.
- Beware of unsolicited e-mails that have a sense of urgency and warnings that your accounts will be closed or your access limited.
- While some fraudulent e-mails may look professional at first, if you look closely you may notice spelling and grammatical errors.
- Fraudulent e-mails may not be personalized, but instead addressed as “dear valued customer.”
- • An e-mail notifying you that a money transfer is being sent from a person you don’t know, is likely fraudulent.
So, how can you protect yourself?
- Be wary and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If a message looks suspicious for any reason, call the person or company to check or search online through Google if anyone else has had the same message.
- Don’t open attachments. These can infect your computer with a virus or other types of malware.
- Never reply with personal information. Such as: bank account numbers/passwords, Social Insurance number, Health card number, driver’s license number, home address, or any personal info about age, marital status, etc.
- Report and delete spam. If you receive spam, you can report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca
Suspicious Phone Calls
Spam isn’t only delivered electronically. The latest in technology fraud involves a call from a real person, giving you the name of a company and even a phone number to call and check (and when you call, you actually get another person.) You may even get these calls early in the morning when you’re not quite awake or during dinner when you’ve got other matters on your mind. Don’t think that a real person on the phone means that the call is legitimate.
Like e-mail spam, be wary. Never, ever feel pressured to give out information over the phone if you are in doubt. The truthful callers, your bank, your insurance agent, your family, etc. will understand.