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‘Boxes of money’ email scams are among the most notorious and widespread social engineering scams. Here is how you can spot them before they get you. Equipping yourself with effective cybersecurity measures is essential in order to ward off such threats.
‘Boxes of money’ email scams are a form of social engineering fraud, widespread and making their rounds for years in the digital realm.
The scam has acquired that name because a typical example involves an unsolicited email or message informing you of a box (or multiple boxes) or a huge amount of money that you can claim for some reason. In return, you will have to provide the sender of the email with your personal information and/or some amount as ‘fees’ or ‘charges.’
Since such a scam can result in loss of finance and compromise sensitive information, it is vital to stay clear of such incidents and stop them before they can have their grip on you. The following are some indications that can help you spot ‘boxes of money’ and similar email scam messages and stay protected from their clutches:
The best telltale sign of a ‘boxes of money’ scam is the unrealistic offer or promise of a prospect of gaining millions of dollars so quickly. This too-good-to-be-true indication is sufficient even for a layperson who is not technically competent to detect a phishing or scam email to understand they are dealing with a fake entity.
For instance, in an example from January 2023, someone claiming to be an official from Homeland Security contacts a person informing about a box of money in the cargo amounting to $10.5 million sent to them by a diplomat. The email asks the person to reply with personal details to claim it. It is best to delete such emails and ensure the best email phishing protection for your system.
Exercising Caution with Email Handling
When dealing with emails, it is crucial to exercise caution and take steps to verify the authenticity of the sender. Be wary of unsolicited emails, especially those requesting personal information or financial transactions. Take the time to research the sender’s identity independently, using official contact information obtained through reliable sources. By exercising caution and verifying the legitimacy of email communications, you can protect yourself from falling victim to ‘boxes of money’ email scams and similar fraudulent activities.
Image sourced from helpnetsecurity.com
Conspicuous Language Errors and Improper Formatting
Many fake emails claiming to be from government officials, business organizations, or professionals display several grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and improper formatting. You can spot such anomalies with a fairly keen eye for detail.
Usually, such errors will be minimal in emails and messages from genuine organizations and professionals. Efficient email hosting services can detect fake emails and prevent them from reaching your inbox. Ensure your email hosting provider uses secure email gateways to help you with comprehensive email protection.
Protecting Against Financial Loss and Identity Theft
To safeguard yourself against ‘boxes of money’ email scams and their potential consequences, it is essential to implement robust cybersecurity measures. This includes using reliable antivirus software, regularly updating security systems, and employing strong, unique passwords. Additionally, be cautious when sharing personal and financial information online, especially in response to unsolicited emails. By prioritizing your online security and adopting preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of financial loss and protect yourself from identity theft.
Creating a Sense of Urgency
Usually, a genuine transaction allows you adequate time to think and decide before you can comfortably take action. However, with email messages from fraudsters, you often face an urgency. The fraudsters will tell you to make a transaction fast because there is only a limited time. It is a tactic they employ to prevent you from studying the issue in detail or consulting some knowledgeable person before making a decision.
Safeguarding Personal and Confidential Information
Protecting your personal and confidential information is crucial in mitigating the risks associated with email scams. Avoid sharing sensitive data, such as financial details or social security numbers, via email unless you have independently verified the authenticity of the sender. It is advisable to utilize secure methods of communication for confidential information, such as encrypted email services or secure file transfer protocols. By implementing these practices, you can safeguard your sensitive information and reduce the likelihood of falling victim to scams and phishing attempts.
Misspelt Fake URLs and Outdated Logos
Scam emails claiming to be from a government agency or a corporate organization may insert a fake URL imitating an original one to take you to fake phishing websites when you click it. The URLs may appear genuine, but it is better to open the original site separately and compare the letters in the URL.
Fraudsters often make fake URLs by changing some letters that may look similar at the initial glance (For instance, they may use ‘0’ (zero) instead of the English alphabetic letter ‘o)’.
Sometimes the organization’s logo they insert to display credibility may be outdated. It happens when they obtain the original logo from a random Google search, while some organizations might have recently modified their logos for various reasons.
Importance of Verifying Sender’s Identity
Verifying the identity of email senders is a critical step in protecting yourself from scams. Genuine organizations and individuals usually have established channels for communication, and their email addresses align with their official domains. Take the time to verify the sender’s identity independently by contacting the organization or individual through trusted means. By confirming the legitimacy of email sources, you can minimize the risk of falling prey to ‘boxes of money’ email scams and other fraudulent activities.
‘Boxes of money’ and similar email scams work by exploiting your trust. They make unrealistic promises of millions of dollars and extract money from you in the name of processing charges, tax, shipping expenses, or other fees.
They may also take your credentials to steal money from your bank account or subject you to identity theft. Therefore, it is advised that everyone must exercise caution while handling emails and verify the sender’s identity before sharing any confidential or sensitive information or transferring money to them.