The internet is the ‘window to the world’ - we can look up virtually anything and have an answer in less than a minute. However, with limitless information all available in one spot it can also be overwhelming; What cat video should I watch today? is this company legit? Should I be giving out this information online? With the current situation around the world, scams via email have been on the rise. Let’s take a look at some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim.
Scams come in many forms; extortion, job scams, romance scams etc. When receiving a scam via email it is referred to as spam –unsolicited emails that are sent in bulk from illegitimate companies.
Phishing is a type of online scam whereby criminals impersonate reputable organizations and try to steal your personal information.
So, how do you spot a scam?
While some may be more obvious than other, such as “you have won 10 million Euros”, others can be harder to spot, especially if it looks like it came from a legitimate source such as Apple, Netflix, or your bank. Here are some things to look for if you are unsure about an email:
Have you ever had contact with this company in the past?
If you receive an email from a company you have never heard of or don’t remember providing this company with your email it could be a scam. Especially if it is a bank you have never done business with.
Are there typos?
If there are mistakes in spelling and grammar, chances are it is a scam. Most companies will proofread their emails before sending and you are unlikely to see grammatical errors.
Does the email address look legitimate?
If the email address has a name you do not recognize or lots of numbers, this is also a sign that the email could be a scam.
Are they asking for personal information?
No legitimate companies will ask you for personal information over the internet via a link in an email. It is very unlikely a company you already do business with will reach out to you to confirm your personal information. They will already have this when you signed up for their service. For example, if Netflix is asking you for additional credit card details or your Social Insurance Number this is most definitely a scam.
All the above should raise a red flag. If you are concerned about a scam email, such as someone saying you owe money, you can call the company to confirm that this is not legitimate. Look up the phone number and don’t call any phone numbers provided in the email. As well don’t click on any links, open attachments or reply to the emails as this can cause serious cybersecurity breaches. Also, avoid hitting the ‘unsubscribe’ button.
So, what now?
The best way to avoid spam emails is to be careful who you give your email address to. If you are signing up for lots of subscriptions or online shopping, make sure it is a legitimate company and you also have the option to uncheck the agreement box to receive emails from these companies and third parties.
You can also report spam to Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org/scamtracker/ or to the Government of Canada via the Canada Anti-Fraud Centre.
For more information on this you can visit here:
The internet has lots of benefits that have helped improve our daily lives but just remember to be cautious. As the old saying goes” If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Canada Anti-Fraud Centre
Canadian Centre for Cyber Security
Canadian Bankers Association