Identity Theft and Email Scams

Reduce Your Risk of Identity Theft by Being Cautious of Email Scams

Avoiding identity theft can often be as simple as avoiding pesky emails. You’re probably wondering what I mean by pesky, right? Identity theft criminals have become much savvier and have resorted to creating fake, yet professional-looking, websites to achieve their goals. They lure unsuspecting consumers in by sending fraudulent emails in order to gather information to be used to commit identity theft. Want to protect yourself? Read on...

Paypal Users Are a Prime Target

One of the email scams that identity theft criminals use involves an email that looks like it’s from Paypal. If you don’t have a Paypal account then you probably won’t be lured in by this hoax. However, if you are a Paypal user, your bank account and credit cards may be at risk.

When a identity theft criminal commits this crime, he or she sends out a massive amount of unsolicited emails (spam) in the hopes that consumers will click on the link provided in the email and fill out the requested information. Basically, the email warns about an urgent matter and requests that the consumers update their Paypal information or risk losing their accounts. The link usually takes the consumer to a very believable website that impersonates Paypal’s company website. Other companies sometimes involved in this type of scam are eBay and AOL.

Banks, Credit Card Companies and Even Utility Services

These email scams are not limited to Paypal, eBay or AOL. Identity theft criminals will tarnish any good company’s name, and scam emails often involve banks, credit card companies and utility services too.

Vigilance is Essential

How do you protect yourself from these email scams? There are often telltale signs that an email is a hoax. Oftentimes, email scams contain spelling and grammatical errors that can be a red flag that something is not quite right. If you encounter such an email, you are well advised to delete it. It’s also a good idea to report the email too, although companies are often well aware because of other consumers reporting it too.

Also look at the actual link the email is directing you to. While it may look like the email is sending you to www.paypal.com in the text of the email, it can actually be sending you to a completely different site. You can tell by mousing over the link and seeing what URL pops up.

And remember, legitimate sites such as Paypal or your financial institution will never request that you provide or confirm personal information via email, which can be another telltale clue that the email is part of a scam.

Be on the lookout for scam emails and never respond to emails that look suspicious. If you are wondering whether or not an email is actually from your bank or a particular company, call that company directly and inquire.

Identity theft is a complicated crime for its victims but often all too easy for criminals to commit. Don’t assist criminals by making it any easier. Be cautious when responding to any emails you receive, and ignore and delete any emails that look suspicious. You can easily reduce your risk of identity theft if you follow this advice.

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