Ask A Street Web Design about how to avoid scams and Internet fraud

Avoid Email Scams, Phishing and Internet Fraud

  • Account Security Measures
  • Your account has been/will be suspended!
  • Fraud Login Attempt
  • Accounts Stolen
  • Unable to process your payment

If you have an email account, eventually you will get an email with a message like this. It that appears to be from a reputable internet business such as a bank, credit card company, eBay, or PayPal, or even the Social Security Adminstration or the IRS! In reality, these fraudulent emails come from a criminal trying to steal your personal information.

Don't panic

Typically, these emails contain an alarming message — your account needs to be verified, your account has been compromised, is expiring or suspended, or needs to be updated, your check will be withheld — and provide a link for you to click. These dire consequences are designed to scare you into thinking you must act immediately. The crooks hope you'll click that link and give away all your personal info.

If you get an unsolicited email that asks you to input update personal information be very suspicious.

Looks are deceiving

Sometimes it is very hard to tell. Often the email will have the company logo, their "look" and style of writing or even actual text copied from the company site or legitimate email. Some may even address you by your first and last name or the business name associated with your account. Even the link appears to be genuine. And if you do click on the link, the site you go to often looks legitimate.

They are not legitimate! They are a SCAM!

These type of emails, known as phishing, are an attempt to trick you into divulging their ATM/Debit card, PIN numbers, or login names and passwords. Click on the link and you are taken to a fake, look-alike site that asks you to login. While it make look like the real site, this fake site will take your login information and use it to steal from you or sell it to the highest, criminal bidder.

How to protect yourself?

Never give personal information to anyone based on an unsolicited email or phone call.

  • Be cautious of all email.
  • Verify suspicious email by other means: phone or log onto the company's site directly.
  • NEVER click any links in a email that asks for personal information. That means NEVER, NEVER!
  • ALWAYS access your account by entering the site's URL into the location bar in your browser.
  • Use common sense. Does you bank account expire? Would you give out your bank or credit card number, or your eBay login information to anyone who calls on the phone? Why should you give it to anyone who emails you?
  • Remember: Legitimate email will never ask you to provide sign-in passwords, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information through email.

Initiate contact yourself

If you want to check on the status of your account, contact the business yourself using a method you know is legitimate, whether it is by phone, by surfing to their site or even in writing.

More info

Related ASW articles:

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