- Internet & the Web
How to Recognize an E-mail Scam
How to Recognize an E-mail Scam
Recently, I got a supposed e-mail from Microsoft claiming that I had been the winner in a contest they had. A Product Award Notification Letter was attached in PDF format. However, after I downloaded the PDF file and read it, I noticed several obvious signs that this was a scam! I'm going to be sharing those signs with you to help you avoid being the victim of this and similar deceits.
Do Your Research
Whenever you get anything in your inbox claiming that you are a winner of some kind, do your research. That is what I did after receiving this letter. The first thing that caught my attention about this was the appearance of the Microsoft logo. I noticed that it looked kind of generic. After visiting the official Microsoft website, I realized that that is not even the logo that they use! Examples of the two logos are to the right.
In other words, the designers of this con didn't even use an updated version of Microsoft's logo. I've noticed that that's pretty typical with scammers. They make some pretty big mistakes; but if you don't take the time to analyze their claims, you will never catch them. That's how people get swindled. The reason being is because of the large rewards or returns that are promised by these crooks. People get excited and short-sighted over that. Don't make that same mistake and let your greed get the best of you. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is; and that brings me to my next point.
If it Sounds too Good to be True, it Usually is
This Award Notification Letter claimed that I had been the third place winner of a £850,000,000 prize! Yeah, right. You have to be really guillible to fall for that; and apparently, there are some really gullible people in the world, because there are people that get tricked by such schemes. Don't let big numbers excite you. They are designed to get you to rush into giving all of your personal information up so that you can get robbed.
How this Award Notification Letter scam works, specifically, is that it asks you to confirm your identity by sending some required personal information to some e-mail address at mail.com (firstname.lastname@example.org); and the next step would be to prbobably request banking infomation which would allow the designers of this con access to your bank account so they can clean you out. I asked myself while reading this, Why would they need to know my identity? Wouldn't Microsoft know who they were sending such a large award to? Scam! Not to mention, wouldn't a Microsoft offical use a Microsoft e-mail address to send an official Microsoft document to individuals?
There were also a number of grammar rules that were brokein this Award Notification Letter. There was a place or two where words were missing spaces in between them; and all of the text was in bold font. Besides that, it was green and blue. Who in the world writes such an important document in such a format? It was like a sixth grader had written it. Rest assured that a corporation like Microsoft has the means to hire people with professional document writing skills. This confirmed, in my mind, that the letter I was reading was a scam.
Keep in Mind
The Microsoft Award Notification Letter I had received exhibited several signs of being a scam. Some of which included it using a generic logo, a questionable e-mail address, bad grammar, outrageous claims; and it asked for personal information. These are all classic signs of an online scam. Keep this in mind whenever you receive an e-mail or come across a website displaying similar characteristics, and avoid like it at all costs! It's a scam!
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