How to Recognize a Check Scam Email

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A check scam email is an example of social engineering, a tactic hackers use to get your personal information and money. They send fake checks or even real money, then ask you to return it or transfer it to them, usually by using a wire service. You can avoid falling victim to this type of scam by being vigilant. The Federal Trade Commission has received more than 27,000 reports of check fraud, with losses totaling $28 million. The scam is particularly prevalent among people in their 20s, the commission says.

The Best Tools and Techniques for Checking and Identifying Scam Emails to Protect Your Personal and Financial Information

Pay attention to the “from” address. Most scammers will fake this to make the email look legitimate. Then, hover your cursor over the name to see the actual electronic address. If the real address doesn’t match, this is a sure sign that it’s a phishing attack.

Check for spelling errors or inconsistent grammatical structure. These are telltale signs that the writer isn’t an English-speaking native speaker and may not be a professional. Look for a sense of urgency and requests to act fast. These are other red flags that the email is likely a scam.

Always double-check email links before clicking on them, and always check the destination URL. You can do this by hovering your cursor over the link or by opening the email in a web browser and visiting the website directly. When in doubt, contact the company to confirm that they actually sent you a request or provided any information.

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