“Earn a lot of money by working very little right from your home!!!” Does this line sound familiar to you? Of course it does! This phrase is often used at the spear-head of the many scam emails that try to dupe you out of your money. Indeed, many fall prey to such ruthless ‘get-rich-quick’ and ‘work-from-home’ schemes, because they often get fooled by some of the many tactics such scams use. Now I am not saying that all such schemes are scams, but you should know better than to submit a ‘transfer’ fee whenever some Nigerian prince has millions of dollars in his bank account, which are now up for grabs. Here are some top tips on how to identify email scams that try to trick you out of your money.
1. Look at the email headers
Some of the first pointers you’ll get are the email headers, i.e. the subject line, the sender name, and so on. You can tell when an email has been auto-generated when it contains too many special characters, such as quotes, periods, commas, etc. For example, if an email reads something like “Earn.money.while.working-at-home”, you should know better than to open that email.
2. Look at the language used
Proper companies, who are actually looking to hire people, don’t make use of informal, or slang language. They employ special technical writers who professionally write about the job postings for them. So if you see a poorly written posting, with grammatical or spelling mistakes, or with slang or informal wording, then that’s a pointer right there that you should bail.
3. Make use of the junk folder
Often times, the junk folder does half of the work for you. It usually filters out any emails coming from a cheap domain. I, for instance, don’t open anything in the junk folder, unless it’s from someone I know and trust. Make sure you know what you’re doing when you open a mail in your junk folder, because often times, scam mails can be found in that folder.
4. Don’t be fooled by the email address
One of the biggest traps people fall in is, they think the email address that sent them the mail looks legit. They think an email from firstname.lastname@example.org really means that they want to be hired by PayPal. Well, let me put it this way. It’s a simple trick anyone can do! Even I can write a PHP script that will send you an email from email@example.com, asking you to join Microsoft! Hell, I could even make you give up your Facebook password by sending you an email from firstname.lastname@example.org! The point is, don’t be fooled by the seemingly legit email addresses. Anything can be forged.
To quote an example, I recently got an email from someone whom I supposed worked in PayPal. The email said that my account had been frozen, and that I need to pay a small free to un-freeze it. I was on the verge of entering my payment credentials, when I realized that I hadn’t even set up PayPal on that email – it was configured on another email address! Close shave, I’d say. But that made me realize how important email security is, and is one of the reasons why I am writing this post right now.
5. Look carefully at the URL
The URL is probably the one thing that will give away a scam, which is why they try to disguise it as best as they can. They try to make their emails and webpages look like real ones, and even try to hide the URL. A lot of the times, the URL looks something like ‘google.com-index.in’, which at first glance, looks good enough to the average user. But in reality, it is actually a .in domain, with Google as a sub-domain, which anyone can configure on their own domains! (google.richincomeways.com)
6. Don’t pay any fee!
Now the whole point of working online to make money, not spend it. If a job requires you to submit a ‘startup’ fee first, then that should set off the alarm for you. Even the reputable freelancing websites such as Elance or Freelancer don’t ask you for startup money. You only pay to get certain premium privileges, but you can do without them at the start.
7. Don’t be suckered into any promise
Professional organizations never make any promises or guarantees about how you will make a huge income with them. To them, your success is solely based on your performance. Otherwise, if they’d dish out huge sums to every Tom, Dick and Harry just for sitting on the other side of the screen, then they would go out of business real soon, wouldn’t you agree? So if someone is making promises, don’t expect him to keep them. In fact, keeping your distance with them would be the safest course.
8. Beware of fake names
The reason many people get sucked into scams is because the names used by such scams sound pretty legit. For example, Google Treasure, Google Speed, Google Income Program etc. People automatically go for the big Google name, without considering the consequences.
If I was ever involved in such a situation, I would first go in and research upon that particular company that’s hiring. Google can provide you with tonnes of information that you need. If you can’t find the company, then maybe you should stop pursuing prospects with this company!
10. Contact the company
Never settle for written communication, even if you can connect to the email sender via social media. Always insist on meeting personally, or at least talking over the phone to verify if the job posting is actually real, and not just a prank or scam.
So, do you have any more of your own tips to share with us? Please feel free to communicate in the comments section below. Stay safe 🙂