Email Scams: Four Easy Ways to Check if You Have One in Your Inbox

Don't get caught in an email scam.Whether it is the Facebook Privacy Hoax or Nigerian Email Scams, the Internet is rife with con artists trying to bilk unsuspecting people out of money or find ways to exploit their lack of knowledge.

For business, email scams can be a huge problem. From classic money scams to phishing attacks to computer viruses, there are plenty of dangers lurking in the collective inboxes of any organization.

But, there are ways to spot a scam, just as there are ways to out a con artist in real life. Here are four of them.

4. Do an Internet search.

One of the fastest and easiest ways to find out if someone is trying to trick you is to search Google. Search using the subject line of the email or even a sentence from it. You’ll be amazed at how many listings you’ll find if it is indeed a scam email and sometimes even when it isn’t. You can also visit Snopes, where every Internet myth is dissected and often debunked. As an aside, if you get a phone call from a mystery number, they can also be searched online. There are numerous websites where consumers can report solicitation and fraudulent bill collection services calls from callers that don’t leave messages on voicemail.

3. Check the email address of the sender.

If someone is trying to solicit business from you, chances are their email address won’t be bill71274@yahoo.com. Additionally, if the sender does have a legitimate sounding email address, visit the website. For example, if it is bob@xyz.com, go to xyz.com and see what’s there. But, be careful NEVER to provide your information on any unknown website. Visiting with your browser is ok, but don’t click any links or fill out any forms.

2. Consider what they are soliciting.

I have received emails over the years from customers concerned when they are contacted by someone in China claiming they need to pay for their company’s domain name in that country. These Chinese domain name scams are commonplace and have been around for years. But, take a moment to think about why a company in China would pick you to contact. The same goes for “companies” saying they audited your website and found it had problems or could do better with search engines. This is where a search of the Internet for the email comes in handy.

1. When in doubt, just ask.

After more than 20 years surfing the Internet, I’ve seen about every scam there is to throw in my direction. If I haven’t, I know how to find out. So, please, contact us at any time if you are confused or have a question. We are here to help.