Can You Identify Scam Emails?

COVID-19 has given rise to new online scam attempts that target vulnerable people and seniors. We have seen an increase of scam emails pop up within our own community and we want to ensure that congregants feel safe to engage online at this time.

There are many online resources for helping to educate about scam emails. Please make sure you educate yourself as these attempts are getting more sophisticated. Have a look at this 10-minute video about identifying scam emails.

UCV Scam Email Attempts

In the example below, you can see an actual scam attempt made with an account that was created to impersonate Rev. Steven Epperson. Notice that they even have a profile photo of Steven. These can be difficult to distinguish from actual correspondence, however, there are a few tell-tale signs here.

1. Sender Email Address

The email address looks legitimate, however, our staff emails only come from vancouverunitarians.ca, not gmail.com. This email came from revsteven.vancouverunitarians@gmail.com which is suspicious.

2. Unusual Behavior

Steven has never emailed me directly to ask for a favor before. It doesn’t seem completely out of the question, but this is not usual behavior.

3.  Subject Heading

The all-caps subject heading that is irrelevant to the content of the email makes this stand out as odd

4.  Contact Details Exclude Phone Number

This particular scam is an impersonation of someone I know, which means that they don’t want to offer me the opportunity to contact them directly. The fact that the phone number does not appear in contact details is a red flag.

Checklist for Identifying Scam Emails

The checklist below can help you identify scam emails, It was is taken from this website.

What To Do If You’re Still Unsure

  1. If it is coming from someone claiming to be someone you know, call them and double-check before opening any links or attachments!!
  2. If it is someone you’ve never heard of before, google search the company or person and see if you can find a phone number or other direct contact
  3. Never open an attachment or click a link unless you are sure of the sender
  4. Never give people gift cards or money transfers without first talking to them in person, or receiving a direct link to secure payment from an email address you know and trust.
  5. Learn how to report phishing attacks and spam through your email provider so the email addresses will be red-flagged and shut down.

 


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