We’ve been seeing a large uptick in scam emails, so this month we would like to take the opportunity to tell people what to look for and what to do.
What is a scam email?
Scam emails, also called phishing emails, are designed to try and obtain your personal data whilst impersonating either a person or company who you would be willing to part that information with. Common examples include receiving an email claiming to be from Microsoft, PayPal, Amazon, Vodafone and other large companies.
What should I look for?
Generally speaking, scam emails follow a similar kind of language and structure. Scammers posing as companies such as Microsoft, Apple, PayPal, Amazon and the like will send you something that looks like the following:
Dear sir or madam,
You have an outstanding bill on Apple Music/Amazon Prime/Paypal Wallet of €9.70. Please clear this bill within 24 hours or we will be forced to close your account for non-payment
Sometimes they send them in simple text and sometimes they make them look like invoices, but they usually have the same key elements: Impersonal greeting, debt, threat.
The Impersonal greeting “Dear User” is a warning bell. After all, if you really did have an account with Apple Music, then you would have to give them your name, therefore they would use your name in an email. The fact you have an email purporting to be from Apple without your name in it is suspicious.
There is usually some kind of debt, small enough that you won’t question it too much and would be willing to pay.
Then there’s the threat, “Do this now before we close your account.” It’s designed to make people panic and comply with the email without thinking it through.
What should I do?
If you receive an email like this from a company saying you owe them money, you can check it by going onto that company’s website and logging in with your password and checking if you have any outstanding bills there. If the email has a link to their website on it; Do not click it as it will take you to the scammer’s website!
Once you have verified you do not owe any money to Amazon or whoever the scammer says they are from, delete the email.
If you’re still unsure, ask a professional. The Tech Shop offers to look over the email you’ve received and tell you if it’s a scam and can answer any further questions you may have.