By now, who hasn’t received an e-mail from someone claiming to be a member of the Nigerian royal family, seeking help transferring millions of dollars to a safe facility in the United States, to keep it from falling into the wrong hands? While it seems improbable that anyone getting such a message would truly believe that out of the hundreds of millions of people in the world, this “prince” or other relative of a supposedly deceased world leader would be contacting average “Joe” in the Midwest for help, apparently some people do fall for it.
Identifying a scam may be hard. The rule of thumb should always be “if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is”.
Besides scams, however, the average individual today with an e-mail account is bound to receive junk e-mails by the dozens. Needless to say, we recommend not only that they be ignored, but that they be deleted. It is not difficult for the unscrupulous to attach or imbed a virus or other hacking program in the types of attachments that come with junk e-mails. Likewise, when you receive an e-mail from a “friend” with a video of a cute little kitty or some purportedly exciting attachment, exercise extreme caution about opening the file. Unless you are absolutely certain the message is from someone you know, don’t open the message or any attachment. Look for clues in the message that it is really just spam:
- Did your “friends” use the nickname for you that they usually use, or address you more formally?
- Is there simply a hyperlink but no other message?
- Does their actual listed e-mail address in the “from” line match the one you know to be accurate?
- Are there misspellings or grammatical mistakes that you wouldn’t expect them to make?
- Are there other recipients listed of whom you’ve never heard before?