Protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft or a computer virus like ransomware, by avoiding fraudulent holiday emails from senders claiming to be Amazon, Paypal, Costco, Starbucks, Pandora and other well-known names.
I’ve been getting a lot of those lately, as holiday shopping season gears up, and probably so have you.
Always identify a sender as legit before clicking on any link.
Email security is important 24/7, and even more important with the the mind- boggling recent Equifax security breach on top of the massive security breach of Yahoo emails, with as many as one billion Yahoo user accounts affected.
Scam Alert: Protect your online identity
Make sure you are not one of the 143 million people whose vital information was stolen in the Equifax security breach.
Here’s what to do, straight from the Federal Trade Commission.
But I digress. We’re talking about fraudulent emails.
Major companies, including e-tailers, have their own domain name, such as Amazon.com, Paypal.com, Costco.com, Starbucks.com, Pandora.net, even Harry’s shaving products.
They would not be sending you or me discount buying offers, or alerting me that my account has been limited because of “unusual activity”, from domains like ganfres, marketdemand.date, vertexreward, batterbitters.trade, or survive.stream.
Those are just some of the senders I’ve received recently.
I just shake my head and purge them.
The emails look legit, with familiar logos, and even images lifted from a legitimate ad or consumer mailing, but they are not.
- mis-spelled words
- hyphens between words that should not have hyphens between words
- the wrong words capitalized or lower case.
I’m a journalist and therefore a grammar nut, who notices things like that.
That’s a giveaway it was written by a non-native English speaker or writer, most likely in one of the countries known for hacking or for fake news sites.
email@example.com, do you think I’m stupid enough to respond to an email “Paypal account Limited by unusual Activity” with incorrect capitalization?
firstname.lastname@example.org, the words Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and United States are proper names and always capitalized, but scammers like you either don’t know or don’t care.
patterncool.date, what makes you think do you think I would buy Xmas gift ideas” from you.
email@example.com, do you think I would buy ID protection services from your website.
healthywomen.com, are you really an ADT Premier Provider as you claim to be, or a fraud? No matter, if I want home security services, I’ll contact ADT directly.
firstname.lastname@example.org, since I don’t have a Western Union account, why are you emailing me a recent suspicious log-in on the account I don’t have.
email@example.com, why would I buy Harry’s razors from you and not directly from the real Harrys.com website?
firstname.lastname@example.org, why would I respond to you about a service upgrade to GoDaddy, when GoDaddy has its real, true honest and secure domain, which begins with the all important HTTPS. The “s” is sure secure.
Scam Alert: Unsubscribe
I get dozens of emails demanding that I unsubscribe from receiving more. Luckily, my spam folder catches them.
“We remind you third time you must answer us to avoid receiving this message several times. Do you want to unsubscribe? Click yes or no.”
“Congratulations. Your unsubscribe request is in process. Would you like to confirm? Click yes or no.”
Actually, I only thing I click is delete. But they are good for a laugh first.
Scam Alert Bottom line
Use the drop-down or ID feature on your device to identify the sender before you open yourself to years of grief from a sender something like change-life-management.com.
Do not click any link on any email from any sender you do not know.
Even if you are sick of finding these obviously fraudulent emails in your daily inbox, as I am, never NEVER click the “unsubscribe here” link, unless you want to introduce a virus, malware that leads to identify theft or some other expensive and time-consuming catastrophe.
While I can add some email senders to my blacklist to block and purge without me ever seeing the email, to my email provider tells me there’s no way to blacklist and block senders with extensions such as .trade, .date., .deal. So, I just purge them.
If you want to purchase Pandora jewelry or home security services, go straight to the source, or do a browser search for canvas prints or personalized letters from Santa. Do not click on the email.
When you shop online, look for HTTPS in the URL, which tells you it’s a secure site for financial transactions, and also meets the latest Google requirements for general security.
Just so you know, ecoXplorer is an HTTPS site. And so is my other website, NYC on the Cheap.
I hope attorneys for Amazon, Paypal, Costco, Starbucks and Pandora are reading this, and crack down on the fraudulent senders using their good name.
Please contact me, email@example.com, so I can share the next batch of scam emails that are using your good name in vain and help you stop them.
This Scam Alert was published originally in 2017 and is updated and republished annually.