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Should I click? or is it spam?

We must ask ourselves this question many times.  We all get emails telling us to ‘click this link’ to read more or to verify our accounts, but how do we know if they are genuine? Our paraplanner, Lesley, shares her experience of email scams.

 

How easy it is to get caught out

I recently heard a story from a young lady who is fully aware of spam emails and how they can appear to be genuine even when not.

Despite this knowledge, one evening, feeling rather tired after a long day at work, she received an email, supposedly from Amazon.

The email said that her account had been locked due to suspicious activity.  She was told to ‘click here’ to unlock her account or it would be lost forever, including any funds or unfulfilled orders.

So yes … in spite of her better judgement, she clicked on that link.

She had believed it to be genuine as she had used Amazon quite a lot recently so thought it had been locked as fraud prevention.  Not only did she click on the link, she then entered her name, address, post code and details from two bank debit cards!

 

Instant regret

The very moment she had finished she questioned herself … what have I just done?

She contacted me in a panic, and I told her that I didn’t believe it to be genuine.  Fortunately, she was able to move the money out of the two accounts, contact her bank to cancel her cards and change her Amazon password before any money was taken.

Amazon confirmed that the email was not from them.  There were some clues which are common in spam emails – spelling and grammar errors, instilling fear to make you react quickly and of course asking for personal details once the link has been clicked.

 

A cautionary tale

We may fear the link but it’s often the action we take once we’ve clicked on it that causes the problem.

So just be careful; only click on a link if you believe the source to be genuine, and then NEVER, EVER go on to enter any personal information … you might not be as lucky as this young lady!

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