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How to Recognize an E-mail Scam

Updated on March 30, 2013
Source

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.

Generic Microsoft Logo
Generic Microsoft Logo
Official Microsoft Logo
Official Microsoft Logo | Source

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.

Source

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.

Source

Suspicious Questions

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 (gibson.oscar@mail.com); 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?

Grammar Mistakes

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!

How Internet Scammers Work

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    • X-Con profile image
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      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      AlexK2009 - Thanks for letting us know about that scam.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      I nearly got caught like that. When it clicked, all the emails went to the police. In Switzerland there was a scam on craiglist offering amazingly cheap flats. The reply to inquiries was

      "The flat is still available, but I am out of the country. Send me one months rent plus one month deposit by Western Union and I will send you the keys by return"

    • X-Con profile image
      Author

      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      AlexK2009 - Yes.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Be suspicious of anything asking for payment via Western Union

    • X-Con profile image
      Author

      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      Express10 - Very true. Thank you for the added information.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      This is a quick and practical hub that can aid you in protecting yourself from the world of email scams. There are many other telltales signs such as being asked to pay money or receive a cashier's check (fraudulent). But the biggest tipoff is that you have never solicited that person or business and they are soliciting you.

    • X-Con profile image
      Author

      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      SAM ELDER - You're welcome, my friend.

    • SAM ELDER profile image

      SAM ELDER 4 years ago from Home

      very useful , thanks

    • X-Con profile image
      Author

      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      teaches12345 - No, I didn't. Good catch. I just fixed it. Thanks.

    • X-Con profile image
      Author

      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      VTYEAR - That's really interesting. I didn't know that.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Thanks for the heads up on this one. I am getting so tired of all the scams. I almost never open any emails links these days, you just never know. Just checking, but did you mean to spell broken as broekn under the Grammar section? Looks like a play on the idea of it. :)

    • VTYEAR profile image

      Virgilio Ano 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I've read a news yesterday that the reason of global slowdown on internet connection was due to the war between spammers (scammers) and anti-spam advocates. May the best man wins. Informative hub, thanks for sharing.

    • X-Con profile image
      Author

      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      breakfastpop - Agreed. Thank you for commenting.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 4 years ago

      With so many con artists out there ready to pounce, information like this can't be stressed enough.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Most helpful tips here on knowing about email scams, often one is taken in by such emails.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I agree with you, that all of this comes from third world countries trying to bilk us rich Americans out of out money.

    • X-Con profile image
      Author

      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      AlexK2009 - Indeed, my friend. Thanks for commenting.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      It is easy to forget to apply due caution. Nice reminders.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      Your welcome.

    • X-Con profile image
      Author

      X-Con 4 years ago from The Free World!

      PaoloJpm - Thanks for the comment.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      Great hub! I got more of that, not on emails but on my personal phone. I got very irritated on them. Since, I never registered in any promo or something for me to win. Moreover, what you said on your hub also things I saw or read on those messages, Such error.