I received an email that appeared to be from Amazon indicating that I was in violation of User Agreement. A simple email that came with a link even indicated that I should login to my Amazon Account to correct this matter. The trick was that this scam expected me to logon to a website from a link they provided in the email. Had I done so it would have asked for logon information, an update to my credit card and mailing address. If I had logged in and provided that information my financial information would have been compromised. Here is a copy of the email I received.
The thought has occurred to me that there are (should be) some common flags to warn you of a scam and steps you can take to protect yourself.
1) Know who you are dealing with – legitimate businesses are smart – they expect you to go their sites. You should not tell anyone anything that has sent you an email, called you on the phone, or sent you a letter unless you can verify they are who they say they are.
2) Don’t Click on Links from Within an Email – if a real company is sending you a link asking you to logon to their site ask them to replace their Marketing director and CIO. More often than not -it is a scam used to entice you to give up your protected information. you should manually type in the URL (internet address) to a website you know is real.
3) Learn what the lock means – SSL is a technology used to scramble (encrypt) the transmission of data on the internet. Your bank is required to have it and any time you type personal information you should be looking for the lock in the status bar.
4) You’re not that lucky – you don’t have a long lost deceased uncle who left you sums of money in Nigeria. Sorry to break the news to you. This email keeps going around (has for decades I understand). The story goes you have a dead uncle who has left you money and if you provide a bank account number you will get money. It is a scam, a trick to take your money. Refer to rule 1 above – know who you are dealing with.
5) If it is too good to be true its not true – your mother told you this years ago. It is still true.