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Living in a digital world

We live in a digital world where texting and e-mail has become the go to form of communication. The benefits of e-mail are obvious in that you can literally be in contact with someone across the world in a matter of moments, but it has also opened the door for unscrupulous types who have adopted the technology in order to run scams and separate people from their money. E-mail scams come in all shapes and sizes, and while we all think we are aware when we receive a shady e-mail, the number of people caught out by such scams suggests otherwise, as it continues to rise.

The question then becomes what to look for when an e-mail arrives in your inbox. The first thing you need to look at is who and where the e-mail originates from. If the name is someone that you don’t know, you should immediately see the first little red flag being waved. This is a little tougher when you have a business e-mail and may receive communications from customers that you don’t know, but it’s a little more obvious with personal e-mail. The most glaring tell-tale signs should come when you open the e-mail, but people are still regularly sucked in.

The problem is that while most of us are aware of the scam e-mails that claim we have won a lottery we have never entered, or that a Nigerian prince is looking to share his wealth with us, there are many more that are not quite so obvious. These tend to be phishing e-mails that look as though they come from people or companies that we trust. For example, you may get an e-mail from what looks like your bank, or some other trusted company, usually asking you to follow a link in which you will be asked to update your information for their records. The link you click will take you to a phony site that looks like your bank, but is actually a place where the bad guys collect all of your personal information.

Identity theft is a growing problem that is becoming more problematic as more and more people take to the internet. It seems as though the bad guys always seem to be one step ahead of the law, which is why you always need to be vigilant when conducting business online. The phishing e-mails we just discussed are usually a little off if you take the time to read closer. Spelling mistakes are common and you will often be directed to a site that is not secure, which is a sure sign you are not where you should be. If you receive one of these e-mails and are not sure of it’s really from your bank, or is nothing more than a phishing attempt, contact your financial institution or go directly to their website rather than clicking that link. The key here is that you should never blindly trust an e-mail just because it looks like it’s from a trusted source, as that is where the online criminal tend to reel in the most victims.