Detecting scams

Scams are big issues in security. They could come in many different ways, such as email, SMS, IM, etc. There are easy ways you could protect yourselves against scams. In order to do that, first you should have technology to help you. In case of email scam, most of emailing software such as Microsoft Office Outlook and webmail such as Windows Live Mail come with Anti-Spam technology that detect and block spam and scams. Therefore, first step is that check your email service provider and email software and make sure you have Anti-Spam and it is running , doing some search in help area of your email provider such as Windows Live Mail or email software such as Microsoft Office Outlook help would give you the answer. Technologies itself could protect you a lot but , as a user you should take some additional steps for example it might be a case that Anti-Spam was off or miss spam that is scam. Note here that spam and scam are different things, spam might not be scam, and it might be advertisement and might not threat anything, just something useless. But scams are more dangerous, because they would get something from you. However, Anti-Spam Technology would also be able to detect most of the scams and could detect and block them. In case of SMS scamming, there are some software that have capability to detect SMS spam and scam, however, if you know how to identify scam, then you could delete it. In case of IM such as Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger…, you would be able to block scammer by their username and report them. As you can see there are technologies that would help you and many of you already have them. However, knowing how to identify scam would help you in cases that you are not sure whether something is scam or not. To identify scam, if you see one of these behaviors in an email then it is scam:

1)      Asking for personal detail: If you receive an email that asks you to give your personal detail including name, IC number, social security number… it is mostly scam. Note that there might be a case that someone who is trusted ask you for these detail, for example you might ask one of your family member to apply for something on your behalf and need these details to do that. But in that case makes sure you already confirm this issue before communicate by email.

2)      Giving you surprise or threat: Scammers, in order to convince users will try to give them a shocking news or threat. For example email that said you have won a huge amount of money. And also might ask that we are going to shut down your email or bank account within a few hours and to prevent it give your full detail. If you seen an email that surprise you or scares you, before doing any action try to do confirmation , for example if it is from bank visit bank website and see if it is true. In most of these cases, these are scams.

3)      Something comes from no where: Scams might be like a story from someone who you don’t know that ask for help or ask you some methods that give you large number of money and you don’t have any idea about it. Such as lottery scam emails. If you haven’t participated in lottery, you won’t win lottery. If you don’t know the person, they won’t offer you large number of money.

4)      Ask to send password or password recovery question: In many of cases of scam, they might ask you to provide you with your password or questions that might lead to access your email. For example when you setup your email, there might be question like what was your first phone number. These questions might lead to discover your password and access your account. Companies will never ask for such detail and if they do, you have to ask them to change their policy.

5)      Your friends act weird: Sometimes, you might received and email from your trusted friend or someone who you know with his or her email address and it ask you something strange like I am out of country and I lost all of my money and send this amount to my account. Before doing any action try thinking that will your friend do such thing? Is this realistic? And try to contact your friend first, before reply or do any action.

These are some of common ways to detect scam; however formula for scam is that every strange email would give possibility of scam. And behavior of scams will go beyond these. Now, let see how to deal with scam. Firstly, if it is in email then you could mark it as scam, phishing, junk; it is only a click or right click and easy step to do. Also, you would be able to report it, depend on your country and location there some Anti-fraud departments that deal with scam. By doing some search you could find how to report these in your country.






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