Also called "phishing", "pharming", or "spoofing", email fraud occurs when internet thieves are trying to steal your confidential information such as account numbers and passwords. They send emails that appear to be from a well known company or appear as a legitimate website and entice you to disclose personal information.
Fake emails are sent by cyber-criminals and typically:
Ask you for personal information. Fake emails often contain an overly generic greeting and may claim that your information has been compromised, that your account has been frozen, or ask you to confirm the authenticity of your transactions.
Appear to be from a legitimate source. While some emails are easy to identify as fraudulent, others may appear to be from a legitimate address and trusted online source. However, you should not rely on the name or address in the "From" field, as this is easily altered.
Contain fraudulent job offers. Some fake emails appear to be from companies offering jobs. These are often work-at-home accounting positions which are actually schemes that victimize both the job applicant and other customers. Be sure to confirm that the job offer is from a known and trusted company.
Contain prizes or gift certificate offers. Some fake emails promise a prize or gift certificate in exchange for completing a survey or answering questions. In order to collect the alleged prize or gift certificate you may be directed to provide your personal information. Just like with job offers, be sure to confirm that prize or gift certificate is being issued from a known and trusted company.
Link to counterfeit web sites. Fake emails may direct you to counterfeit web sites carefully designed to look real, but which actually collect personal information for illegal use.
Link to real web sites. In addition to links to counterfeit web sites, some fake emails also include links to legitimate web sites. The fraudsters do this in an attempt to make a fake email appear real.
Contain fraudulent phone numbers. Fake emails often contain telephone numbers that are tied to the fraudsters. Never call a number featured on an email you suspect is fraudulent, and be sure to double-check any numbers you do call.
Contain real phone numbers. Some of the telephone numbers listed in fake emails may be legitimate, connecting to actual companies. Just like with links, fraudsters include the real phone numbers in an effort to make the email appear to be legitimate.
To increase response, fraudsters will include upsetting or exciting statements in their emails. They want you to react immediately and respond with the desired information without thinking. Protect yourself by taking the time to examine the claims made in the email. If you receive an email requesting sensitive information check it out for authenticity by contacting the company.
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