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Email Hacking Scam
There is an email scam circulating right now. Scammers send you an email claiming that your email has been hacked. We’ve gotten a lot of questions about it lately. Long story short, it’s a scare tactic.
Here’s how scammers trick you
Scammers hack and compromise someone else’s email account. It could be anyone in any location (in Europe, South Africa, anywhere). With that compromised system, they send you a specially crafted email where it has the From and the To fields of the email set to your address. This is trivial from a programming standpoint, but greatly confuses unsuspecting email users. The effect is it looks like it’s an email coming from yourself. In reality, it’s just a trick, and they are trying to scare you into paying them money. We have recieved a couple of these a week, and it’s been going on for a few months now. As long as they can scare a few people into paying, they will keep sending these out unfortunately.
How can I tell if it’s a scam?
Scammers are trying to create emails that look more legitimate, and it can be difficult to tell a scam from a real email. Scam emails usually have poor grammar. Links in scam emails will usually take you to a website from which either the scammer can access your computer (infected link) or a place where you will pay the scammer inadvertently (phony payment portal). To check links, hover over them but DO NOT CLICK ON THEM.
When in doubt, delete the email. Do not reply. Do not click any links. If the email appears to be from a legitimate business, open a new window or tab, type in the business URL, and contact them via their website.
The image below is an example of just one of these emails. They all seem to have slightly different wording, but their content is remarkably similar.
What if you get an email like this?
Do not reply. Do not pay them money. Simply delete the email. This is not the only email scam that has been circulating. We have an entire article on current internet scams, many of them involving email. We update this article often. So, check back for new ways criminals are trying to scam everyday web users.
There is a bit of good news, in that if your email is hosted with CourseVecter and you take advantage of our spam filter service, we can block these emails before they even hit your inbox. We do need to see them, though. So, you can forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org with a message letting us know you got a spam email that you’d like us to block.
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