Tips to Identifying a Scam Message
In today’s world, no one is safe from scammers. Unfortunately, scammers use many different means to gain access to your information. From phone calls to emails to text messages to social media messages, and fake accounts no one is immune.
For this reason, it is incredibly important people stay up to date on tactics used by criminals and know what to watch for, in order to keep themselves, their businesses, and their customers safe.
As a web design company, we get a lot of emails from clients who are very concerned over an email or a message they received that usually has something to do with their website or domain. 99% of the time these are scams, so our goal here today is to arm you with some tools to help discern what’s real and what’s fake.
Scam Email Red Flags
If any of the following are true about the email message in question you should proceed with caution as it is likely a scam.
Contact Through Website Forms
The most telling sign of a fake message is how they are reaching you. Very frequently these messages come through forms that are posted on your website. Your domain company is not going to go to your website and post in your contact form that you are overdue on your bills or threaten to shut down your website. If they are contacting you directly over email this can be a sign of a more legitimate issue.
If there is a real issue with something on your website, email, or domain the company wants to help you because you are a client of theirs. If you receive a notice that is rude, strikes urgency, is in all caps, etc. this is usually a sign of a scam.
They are trying to make you panic and click a link or give them credit card information before you have time to pause and ask a professional to look into the situation. Things we often see are:
- IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REGARDING YOUR DOMAIN
- CLICK HERE FOR SECURE ONLINE PAYMENT
- We have detected suspicious activity on your website click here to view the report.
- If you do not pay immediately we will shut off your email
- IF WE DO NOT RECEIVE YOUR PAYMENT WITHIN 24 HOURS, YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE TERMINATED!
- Your immediate attention is absolutely necessary
We also see emails from time to time talking about the use of copyrighted images or some type of content that you are using that someone else owns with threats of lawsuits. These usually are very vague and require you to click links to understand what’s going on. If this is from a legit source there should be alternative emails or phone numbers listed and we suggest you reach out that way for more information.
Lack of Personal Information
Another thing to look for is if they are using any personal information in the message. If this was a real company they would know your name, provide things like an invoice number or an account number, and have your phone number listed. Information like this can be found on domain registries, but oftentimes these scammers don’t take the time to find it.
No Contact Information
They would also include some information on how to contact them. A real company would probably have a signature in the email with the person’s name, phone number, company logo, or link to the company website. If no information like this is in the email, that’s a red flag.
Typos and Errors
Restrictions and enforcement on scams like this in America are a lot higher. So generally speaking attempted attacks like these happen from people overseas. If you see major spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors, this can also be a sign that this isn’t a legitimate company trying to contact you.
Safe and Secure Web Design
For more help in creating a safe and effective website, contact our team of web designers. Not only will we help you create a beautiful website for your church, business, or nonprofit, but our ongoing support services can advise you on ways to keep your website and overall business safe.