Have you ever received an e-mail from someone you know that seems to be a bit suspicious? You know the one I mean. They say “Hey…check this out” and it only contains a link to an outside website. Or they are asking you to provide credit card information, wire money or send gift cards because they are in “trouble” and need your help?
Scammers are now creating e-mail addresses that look like they are legitimately from someone you know. The display name for the e-mail address may indicate a family member, friend, or co-worker, and the scammer may even present themselves in the body of the e-mail as that person. By using such duplicitous means, they will try to relax your defenses and trick you into sending money to them through various different methods (Wire, Gift Cards, and Money Transfers to name a few) or perhaps putting a virus in your computer.
The best way to protect yourself (and your money!) is to verify the sender. There are a few ways for you to do this:
- Before you open the email, drag your mouse cursor over the display name of the person you think sent the e-mail. When your cursor hovers over the name, the e-mail address will ordinarily be displayed and you may be able to ascertain whether the e-mail is from the individual they claim to be.
- If you are unsure if the e-mail is legitimate, you can go back and compare the e-mail address to prior e-mails you received from the supposed sender. If they do not match, it is not likely from the person you think it is.
- If you are still unsure, you can take the old-fashioned route and give the supposed sender a call or text and ask if they sent you the e-mail. If they answer in the negative, you are saving yourself from a potential scam and informing the acquaintance that they may have been hacked—allowing them to act accordingly.
In the ever-increasing digital age, scammers are becoming more and more inventive in their methods. It is important that you be extra careful with releasing any monetary information or monetary transfers to individuals through e-mail.
Joshua R. Berzak
Russo Law Group, P.C.
100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 102
Garden City, NY 11530