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Countless messages are exchanged online every day, many of them are between strangers. While it'd be nice if everyone was always honest, the reality is the Web has become the new playground for con artists. And knowing how to spot an Internet hoax in your email will keep you from becoming another victim.
Internet hucksters live all over the world. They construct scams that prey on people's greed, sympathies, or naivety.
So if you get a strange email, look out for the following tell-tale signs of a hoax.
Many scam emails come from countries where English isn't the primary language. Mistakes in spelling and grammar scream phony.
Offers that are too good to be true are usually just that. Be wary of direct links in these emails, too. Many will send you to fake pages that contain viruses or attempt to steal your identity.
Banks, credit card companies, and most every other business will almost never ask customers to verify their personal information. That's because they already have it.
Sometimes scammers will send an image of text instead of actual text in their emails. The reason is because they can make the whole picture a link. And if you click anywhere on it, you'll accidentally pull up their phony Website.
Look out for the "Dear Sir" and "Dear Friend" emails, they're usually fake. Though it's true that even legitimate emailers might not know your name, scammers will almost never know.
No Internet security company notifies customers of detected viruses in their computer this way. So don't click on any links in these emails.
While it's good to want to help people, keep in mind that those in real need probably won't be emailing strangers for assistance.
If you receive an email from a friend or relative requesting money or help, be careful. Their account might've been stolen. Read these emails closely to ensure they're legitimate. And contact your friend or relative directly to verify.
It's not just bad Internet etiquette, it's also a sign of scam.
One of the easiest ways to spot an Internet email hoax is by looking at the "To:" box. Scammers usually send fake emails in bulk and your address often won't appear as a recipient.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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