Have you just received an email congratulating you for winning a lottery or urging you to update your ATM or banking detail? Be careful it is an internet 419 / phishing scam e-mail. Free online e-mail services like Yahoomail, Gmail, and Hotmail have been working to protect us from scam emails, but the phishers seem to come up with new ways to beat the filtration system.
Scam e-mails seem to beat Yahoo mail more than the other email platforms. Here you find some security tips on protecting yourself from scam e-mails on Yahoo mail and other e-mail platforms.
Scam e-mails are usually sent to your e-mail address by phishers. Their aim is to collect personally identifiable information and valuable information from you. Common targets are your name, address, phone number, ATM PIN, Credit/debit card details, banking details, and on. With these information they will steal your identity (identity theft) and use it to steal from you or steal from others using your identity.
Here are a few tips on protecting yourself from internet scam e-mails:
Do not give out your Personal info to anyone you do not know
One common method used by phishers to steal your identity is to send you a scam e-mail telling you that you have won something like a lottery, a promo, or a scholarship and then urging you to provide them with your details so that you will redeem your winning.
If you fall for this internet scam then you are about to lose your identity or even your money. Do not respond to such a scam e-mail, it is not worth it.
If you know you did not apply for any lottery or scholarship there is no need taking a second look at such an email. Even if you did, they should already have your details since you must have entered them during the application process. So, this should in itself be a red flag.
Do not reveal your ATM PIN to anyone
Have you ever received a scam e-mail informing you of an upgrade on InterSwitch payment (ATM/debit/credit card) platform and then advising you to update your ATM details or your ATM card will become invalid.
The aim of the phisher in this internet scam is to collect your ATM or debit card PIN and other card information. This they can use to access your money by cloning your ATM card.
They can also use your ATM/debit card to shop online. Do not respond to this scam e-mail. Never reveal your ATM PIN to anybody not even to officials of your bank.
Do not send your banking details to anyone
Once in a while you receive a scam e-mail claiming to be from your bank or even financial institutions you do not bank with. The method is the same as that of ATM PIN scam.
The scam e-mail will usually request your bank account information or even your online banking details, all they want is to collect your account details that will enable them access your bank account.
Do not click links within scam e-mails
Phishers are getting more advanced this days. The aim of some scam e-mails is to solicit an action from you that will initiate the installation of a malware on your computer. Usually this involves requesting you to click on a link within the e-mail.
Once you fall for this internet scam a malware like a keylogger will be installed on your computer without your consent. The purpose is to monitor your activity on your computer and steal valuable information like passwords, PINS, and so on.
Be careful when clicking a link within an e-mail. Install a good anti-virus and firewall to improve your security while on the internet.
How do phishers get your e-mail address
Phishers and Spammers use email harvesting software to gather e-mail addresses from web pages. If your e-mail is listed in forums or comment pages of websites, your e-mail can be harvested and you will be a target of scam e-mails. Do not leave your e-mail or phone number in comment pages and forums.
Some popular scams include Lottery scam, ATM scam, social engineering, Business Email Compromise (BEC), Phishing, Impersonation, Internet Fraud, fake job scam, love/relationship scam and charity scam. Yahoo mail addresses seems to perform poorly when it comes to filtering scam mails. Some times scam mails are misdirected to your Yahoo inbox instead of the spam/bulk box.
Yahoo sometime even mistakes genuine mails for scam mails and direct them to the bulk box instead. That might be the reason why Yahoo seems to be the favourite target for scam e-mail. Gmail appears to handle scam e-mails better sending them to where they belong (spam box).