Saturday, December 8, 2012

Anatomy of a Scam Email

I get a few of these a year. 

Scam emails are an inevitable hazard if you do business on the Internet. 

They tend to be more subtle than your typical personal scam letters, which usually appeal to greed. "Hi, can you help me get money I'm not supposed to have. I'll give you a huge cut." OR "There's a pile of money here that you know really doesn't belong to you. But if you give me your banking information (and everything else I need to steal your identity) I'll make you rich!"

Scam letters aimed at your business tend to look like more legitimate queries. But if you look at them carefully, you can see the telltale signs that they mean trouble. 

There are a lot of hints to indicate that you're dealing with a scam email. Among them, vague references to your services and location without showing that they have ever read your website. Often the recipient's name or the name of his/her business is not even used.

Typically these scams include an offer to send you a check in excess for your fee, which you're supposed to either distribute among other vendors or refund the difference.  The scammers' goal is for you to deposit the check so they can somehow cancel it and suck the funds from your account.

This isn't just for wedding professionals. Anyone with a business could be targeted. Here's an email I received recently. Hopefully this will help you avoid a scam.

How to recognize a scam email.

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