In the good ol’ days, a scammer had to actually talk to you on the phone. A slow process limited by the number of calls that could be made between 9:00 and 5:00. Now thanks to modern technology, that same scammer has the ability to send out thousands of scam attempts every hour.
The best way to protect yourself and your company is to assume that every email is fake. It may seem paranoid, (it is), but those few seconds of doubt may prevent you from reflexively responding to or clicking on a link.
When you do receive a questionable email (and you will) ask yourself the following:
- Do you know this person? The answer is no. If you knew them you wouldn’t be questioning if it’s legitimate. Delete it.
- Do you have anything to do with the subject of the email? Wild guess, no. So how did the sender magically choose you instead of the 10 to 20 other people who this message may actually or even tangentially apply to? Delete it.
- Do you need to do anything other than preview the attachment? Yes? Delete it. If you need to click a link or enter your password, just don’t.
Remember if it’s important and you don’t answer, they’ll re-send it.
I’m not a psychic but I play one on blog posts. Allow me to tell you a few truths about yourself. Truths that will help you to lead a happier, more fulfilled, less fraud-susceptible life.
- You are not under audit from the IRS. Especially not from a robot.
- Your grandchild is not in jail in a foreign country. They’re on vacation staying at an inexpensive but still nice hotel.
- That quote request from dave1234@not a company.com will never turn into a sale. Instead, you’ll ship the product, pay their freight company and find that the credit card was cancelled.
- Your electricity is not going to be shut off in the next hour. And the electric company doesn’t take iTunes cards as payment.
- Your customer did not move their bank account to Russia. Virtually no one moves their bank account to Russia.
- The construction crew is not in your neighborhood doing work down the street. They don’t even exist. And if they did, the work would be substandard at best.
- You didn’t speak with them just a few months ago, and definitely didn’t ask them to call you back.
- There aren’t just a few left at the old price. There’s as many as you want at an inflated price.
- When a message pops up saying your computer is infected, it will be if you click on it. Just power down. Better to lose some work than all your work.
- No one is trying to register your domain in China and if they are, who cares, you probably don’t do business in China.
- Microsoft won’t call to tell you your computer is infected. I wish they would, but they don’t.
- That secure private message is neither secure, private nor a real message.
Follow these tips and you should be safer on the internet. And be assured that Abel Womack does not sell or rent your information to anyone—so be sure to open our emails! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Nigeria to help a prince move $15 million out of the country for a hefty percentage.