Stay email safe

Email scams are doing the rounds.

You may receive an email that appears to have come from the genuine email address of someone that you know, but that person may not really have sent it. Someone may have hacked into their account.

  • If the email asks you to send money because they're stranded somewhere don't even think about sending any, and don't worry ~ the person that the email seemed to come from is safe.
  • If the email makes you an offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If the email has a strange subject line, and/or strange text, doesn't make sense, or isn't the usual style of language that the person normally uses,
    • don't click any links in it
    • don't open any attachments in it
    • don't reply to it.
  • Still be suspicious if the email has the person's usual closing greeting ~ emails sent via hacking will often finish with the usual 'signature' of the hacked email account, if it has one.

If you do click on a link, don't verify your account or put your password into any web pages  or screens that appear. The page may look exactly like your email logon screen, but it can be a scam. Only ever go into your emails in your usual way ~ never via an email link.

In the same way, never go into your ebanking system via a link, even if the link is in an email that seems to have come from your bank ~ scammers can make an email look exactly like the ones that your bank sends to you. To go into your internet banking system, always key the address into the top bar, click a favourite, or use a search engine. (If the email contains your bank account number, it's probably genuine, but it's still good practice never to click on a link that it contains.).

How do you know whether an email is safe?

  • We don't want to stop using emails altogether. Most emails are ok, and it's fine to open them.
  • However, you can never be sure ~ treat all with care! Even if the email has come from a genuine address, the person's email account could have been hacked. Some virus checkers don't recognise scams like these.

If you're in any doubt about whether someone has really sent you an email with a link or attachments, please contact them by phone before you click the links or open the attachments. Or, you can email them, but send a new email ~ don't do it as a reply to the one that was sent. I'll always put my phone number and email address in my weekly notice-link emails ~ do contact me if you're in any doubt.

Finally, if your email system has been hacked:

  • change your email password as soon as you find out
  • do a full scan of your computer with your virus checker
  • send an email to your contacts, asking them not to open previous emails that seem to have come from you; put your own email address in the To box, and your contacts' email addresses into the BCC box (so that no-one can see anyone else's email address)
  • try not to worry ~ these scams can be clever and you may feel very upset or embarrassed, but it can happen to anyone; treat it as a stepping stone and let it put you on guard for similar scams in the future.

Stay safe!