Email scams keep getting more creative, elaborate, and humorous. I get many on my email inbox, and have learned to recognize them blindfolded (ok, maybe not blindfolded). The ideas that these scammers come up with keeps my writing list full. Let’s take a look at one that I received today, and I am sure many of you have seen. Take a look at what it looks like:
CHEVRON/TEXACO OIL&GAS COMPANIES END OF YEAR PROMOTION.
Please Send your Names,Telephone Number & Contact Address to Mr Kenneth Davids at(firstname.lastname@example.org)to file for your claims.
OR Dial +2348034481687 for more information on this program.
CHEVRON/TEXACO OIL COMPANY.
8515 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63114
Office (314) 592-1429
This e-mail (including attachments) is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2521, is confidential and may be legally privileged, and is not to be used by anyone but the intended recipient(s). If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any retention, dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender by reply e-mail or call Vi-Jon, Inc. at 314-427-1000 and delete the message.
Unfortunately, many people will fall victims of this scam before the end of the year. To recognize these scams, look at the signs throughout the email.
1. The most obvious is: Why would the Chevron/Texaco company would want to give me that amount of money, called in the email “a promotion”?
2. Take a look at the amount of grammatical and punctuation errors in the email. Even if you are not good at grammar and punctuation, look at the obvious spacing mistakes that jump out at you. Also, take a look at the split words that are not supposed to be written like that (on-going, co-ordinator).
3. Did you notice how in the first paragraph it reads: please send in your names? – names is in plural, which gives you an idea of the mentality of the scammer. He/she has in mind all the names that will be captured via the email, all the potential victims.
4. Look how the email makes a point of creating an “official environment” by using words/phrases like: to the claims processing officer (MR Kenneth Davids) to his official email address – this is an effort on their part to build trust in the reader’s eyes.
5. All this is followed by improper spacing, commas, and many other errors, leading to the end of the email where the person who is emailing identifies herself as Ms. Lay, Sandy (who gives you her many titles) – in an attempt to make it official, and hopefully by now, you are hooked and pick up the phone.
6. And as in a last attempt to convince you, what follows is an email disclaimer with “official wording” citing the law.
So here you have it, the more you look at it in detail, the more signs screaming scam you will find. If anything, it has provided me with a good laugh and writing material. Hopefully, this autopsy will help you in learning to dissect your own email scams. Have a good laugh.