Aside from the three ways to identify a scam: verifying an email’s sender, checking for bad grammar and questioning urgency - there are also three best practices that can help keep you safe from email scams. The first two are pretty easy to remember, and number three, education - involves being aware of the scam resources out there. They are:
1. Stay Vigilant & Skeptical: put your ‘what the hell is this’ hat on when you receive unsolicited emails, even from companies you do business with. Be even more skeptical if they ask you to click something or request personal or financial information.
2. Never Never Never Share Personal Information: One more time: Never share personal, financial, or sensitive information via email or over the phone. Companies will never ask you to send this information through email. Especially banks. If you receive a request and really want to know what’s up, call the phone number on their official website to find out more.
3. Educate Yourself: Many security websites and organizations regularly publish updates on new scams and provide valuable insights on how to recognize and avoid them. I recently visited a Chase branch and was handed a flyer. See it here. Consumer Reports has done more in depth coverage. Read it here. For older folks, Medicare will send emails with ‘what to watch for’. My father has printed out his own set of ‘scam rules’ and keeps them next to his computer, so they’re handy and top of mind. See his list here. Also consider subscribing to our free, weekly scam spotter to see side by side, fake vs. real scams with helpful advice. Signup here.