We've all gotten them, the emails from long lost royal cousins who are begging to give you, their last heir, money; the letters asking for a small donation of a few thousand dollars for a "good cause." The list goes on.
The trick is, how to spot the genuine emails from the spam? Obviously if someone in Africa or Russia is claiming your dream has come true and you're lost family wants to give you millions—it's too good to be true. What about those trickier messages? The ones that look innocent, from your bank or a company you've done business with, but really contain a virus? Here's a simple two-step guide for spotting the imposters:
First, check the email address that is sending you the message.
For example, we recently received an email from a company we frequently use—efax.com—claiming we had a new fax. However, the sender address was from TJB Consulting.
While the username, the A1A9C10B, looks confusing—that's the point. It's trying to mislead you. The important thing is to look for the domain name, or, what comes after the @ symbol. If this message was truly from efax.com, it would say: email@example.com.
Secondly, look at the attachment you are receiving.
Most companies will send you .doc or .pdf attachments. Be wary of anything of other file extensions—especially .txt or .zip files.
These files tend to be programs, like viruses, and once opened will run in your computer, causing damage or stealing data. Our particular attachment, shown above, is labeled ".pdf.zip.txt" which is misleading. It's trying to make us think that this file is a .pdf, but it's really a scam.
Those are the two easiest ways to make sure you avoid spam and scams!
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