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Protecting Yourself from Tech-Related Email Scams: Common Scams and How to Avoid Them

I asked ChatGPT to write an article on common tech related emails scams and how to not fall victim to them. ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with the chatbot.

In today’s digital age, email scams have become increasingly common, especially those that are tech-related. These scams often come in the form of emails that appear to be from legitimate tech companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, or Google, and they often ask for personal or financial information. To avoid falling victim to these scams, it’s important to be aware of the most common types of tech-related email scams and to know how to identify and avoid them.

1) Tech Support Scams
Tech support scams are one of the most common types of tech-related email scams. These scams typically involve an email that appears to be from a well-known tech company, such as Microsoft or Apple, claiming that there is an issue with your device or account. The email will often ask you to call a phone number or click on a link to receive tech support.

To avoid falling victim to a tech support scam, it’s important to remember that legitimate tech companies will never contact you out of the blue to provide support. If you receive an email claiming to be from a tech company, don’t click on any links or call any phone numbers provided in the email. Instead, go directly to the company’s official website to find support options.

2) Malware Scams
Malware scams are emails that contain malicious software, such as viruses or spyware, that can infect your device when you click on a link or download an attachment. These emails may appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a friend or a well-known company, but they are actually designed to trick you into downloading and installing malware.

To avoid falling victim to a malware scam, be wary of any email that asks you to download an attachment or click on a link. If you’re unsure whether an email is legitimate, don’t click on anything in the email. Instead, contact the sender directly to verify the legitimacy of the email.

3) Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are emails that appear to be from a well-known company, such as a bank or an online retailer, and they ask you to provide personal or financial information. These emails may look legitimate, but they are actually designed to trick you into providing your information so that scammers can use it for fraudulent purposes.

To avoid falling victim to a phishing scam, be wary of any email that asks you to provide personal or financial information. Legitimate companies will never ask you to provide this information via email. If you receive an email that appears to be from a legitimate company, go directly to the company’s website to verify the request.

4) Online Shopping Scams
Online shopping scams are emails that offer great deals on products or services, often with the promise of free shipping or other incentives. These emails may look legitimate, but they are actually designed to trick you into providing your credit card information so that scammers can use it for fraudulent purposes.

To avoid falling victim to an online shopping scam, be wary of any email that offers deals that seem too good to be true. Legitimate online retailers will never ask you to provide your credit card information via email. If you’re unsure whether an email is legitimate, go directly to the retailer’s website to verify the offer.

In conclusion, tech-related email scams are becoming increasingly common, and it’s important to be aware of the most common types of scams and to know how to identify and avoid them. Remember to always be cautious when opening emails, especially those that ask for personal or financial information. If you’re ever unsure whether an email is legitimate, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and contact the company or individual directly to verify the request.

Email and Other Tech Support Scams

Beware of fake invoices and other tech support scams

Tech support scams have been growing in popularity over the past few months.  Beware of unsolicited phone calls, emails, or pop-up messages. Please note that major tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Google, etc… will not call you. These scams involve more than attempting to steal a couple hundred dollars from you.

Scammers attempt to catch their potential victims off guard. They will trick or “social engineer” them into allowing them to remotely access their computer, log into their bank account, fake that they “accidentally” gave their prey an over refund amount, and guilt them into buying gift cards and reading the numbers to them (or they’ll be fired). Some will encrypt or steal their victim’s files, passwords, etc…, or leave behind remote access trojans (rats). Others will add a Windows password and lock them out of their PCs, and if they are really mean, delete their files, emails, and contacts in their address book.

Is it a legitimate or fake email?

Most of these scams are coming via email. Many will look like a legitimate invoice, with the impersonated company’s actual logo and graphics. Companies commonly impersonated include Norton, McAfee, Adobe, PayPal and Best Buy’s Geek Squad. To spot a scam look for spelling and grammatical errors. Also look closely at the sender’s email address. Many are from a “gmail.com” account. Just because it says the product name, such as “Norton@LifeLockServices”, in the sender’s section of the email does not mean that it is coming from that company. It is a scam. If you think you have been wrongfully charged, contact your bank or credit card company directly, or sign into your account, but do not use the link that they provided.

Always use a credit card online

A simple reminder, if you make any payments online, always use a credit card. It has more recourse than a debit card, meaning the credit card company can refund your money and charge back the scammers. Too many charge backs and complaints will hopefully cause the credit companies to either cancel or raise the fees they charge the fraudsters, thereby reducing the scammer’s profits.

Do not click on attachments or links

Do not open any attachments or click on any links or pop-up messages as they may be malicious software (malware) such as a virus, or it is just more made-up data to support their bogus claims. Also, do not call the phone number. They will lie about who they are.  Finally, do not respond or click on the “Unsubscribe” link as that alerts the scammer that you viewed the email. It also could be malicious link.

I am a victim. What do I do?

If you are a victim of a tech support scam, contact Esser Consulting, LLC as soon as possible for remediation and recovery help and advice. Your computer might be infected. You might become a victim of identity theft. Review your online accounts and change your passwords, and contact your financial institutions.

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Curt Esser

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