Heads up on an email scam that has been going on for a long time. We have seen it for years, but there have been many times a new client has received it and been caught off guard. It reads something like this, however scammers will often replace certain words or rephrase it slightly:
What Should You Do?
So, you have received an email like this, what should you do now?
This email above, and variations of the email, is a scam that has been going on around the internet for a while. This is an oldie, but a goodie.
Never click on links in emails from people you don’t know. You could be opening your computer up for malicious installs and hacks. Instead of providing links to the actual images in question from your own website, or identifying them some other way, the scammer usually provides a link to a page on another website that they say contains all of the information to prove they own the images. If you click a link it could be a script that downloads malicious software to your computer.
If you have an ongoing relationship with the web designer or developer who built your site, ask them first. They will be able to help you out. A reputable web designer will have proof of all images they have licensed for your site. You also need to be doing your due diligence and not just grabbing any old image online and using it on your own site or in your blog posts! Make sure you only use properly licensed photos.
How to Identify a Scam Email
These type of scam emails go around all the time. I am often asked how to know if what you have received is a scam. If you don’t have anyone to help you out in determining the legitimacy of an email here are some tips:
Scammers are usually from countries where English is not their main language. If you get an email that is written poorly, chances are it could be a scam.
Usually these type of emails are using “throw away addresses” that end in things like @aol.com, @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com, or event @gmail.com, since these are so easy to sign up for and then use until they get shut down by the email provider.
Search Google for a part of the email message. Make it a generic line or two that doesn’t include any identifying info such as your email or your website URL in it. Scammers often copy and paste these messages and then switch out the personalized word or two to try to make it try to seem legit.
The main thing is to not click on links in their emails. They obviously sent it to you to have you click that link and it could do all sorts of things to your operating system and/or email program. Avoid clicking those links at all costs!