How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft Email Scams

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It would not only be rare but now almost unique not to receive on a regular basis emails that have only one aim and that is to steal from you. Such emails are not only often very clever and convincing they are so designed to put the recipient under undue pressure to respond. Many of us feel obliged to obey authority, this is called social compliance. The originators of these online notices exploit this reaction by placing certain action words and phrases within the emails to make us feel obligated or even frightened into some kind of action.

One of the favourite scams the criminals will use is to send a phishing email, so called as the scammers are ‘fishing’ to get your personal details. The subject line will portray some alarming title such as ‘account suspended’, ‘verify your account’ or ‘account update action required’. The idea is to pretend your bank has updated its internet system and you have to update your personal details or that some suspicious activity on your account has been noticed and to ensure security just key in all your personal information including your password. Once a person has fallen victim and passed on their details to a bogus website and certainly not you actual bank the scammers are now going to rapidly empty you account of every penny you have.

But how are you supposed to know or even suspect this contact is not legitimate. There are numerous tell-tale give-away signs that you can watch out for that should arouse your suspicion. The first and foremost will be that the email will be addressed to you as:

‘Dear Customer’, ‘Dear Client’, Dear Sir/Madam’, ‘Dear Account Holder’. Notice that none of these terms are in anyway personal. A legitimate communication from a proper business especially a bank would never be so impersonal, they would always address you by name whereas the scammers don’t know your name unless you fall for it and go on to reveal all.

Falling victim to fraudsters happens more than you would believe because people just don’t imagine they could be targeted. Should you be gullible or innocent enough to be taken in and click on a provided link within the phishing email, instead of being taken to your real bank to update your information you will be sent to a very convincing duplicate site that will even have banners, ads and everything to convince you it’s for real.

Although the criminals who operate these tricks are normally clever and quite sophisticated in their methods you may encounter scammers who lack these skills. The second rate fraudsters who often operate from abroad and are not native English speakers and so pepper their emails with almost laughable spelling mistakes and mangled grammar which is another glaring give-away.

To ensure you do not become another crime statistic of online fraud ensure you make full use of any filters and antiphishing tools provided by your bank, internet or email provider. If you receive any email allegedly from your bank that does not address you by name, is badly worded, contains spelling errors or simply looks suspicious never respond by clinking on links. Delete the said email immediately and any more like it. If your bank really want to get in touch with you they will either write or phone you.

Use caution and common sense and never reveal personal details unless you are absolutely positive of the recipient and you should stay safe.

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