It starts with an email . . .

Here is a typical email that could show up in your inbox and start you down the path of becoming a scam victim if you don’t know what to look for.

Subject: You Have A Package

From: Brenda.Kellen@marshall.k12.mn.us

Reply To: info@fedexdelivery.com

You have a bank draft of $580,000.00 USD , which await the outstanding payment of $95.00 Contact our dispatch unit for dispatch immediately. Contact person: Mr. Celin Smith, Email: fdexcourierdeliveryltd01@gmx.com Tell: +234 807 363 6733

How do I know that this is a scam from just this small amount of information? Let me show you.

First, they tell you that you have a large amount of money just sitting there waiting for you, and all you have to do is just send them some money and they can release these funds to you.  This is used in inheritance and lottery scams on a regular basis.  If you really did have a large amount of money owed to you, and the only thing holding that money from getting to you was some sort of payment, they could take that payment from the amount owed and just send you your money.

Second, there are WAY too many email addresses going on in this email.  There is the one in the From line, which is probably spoofed or this person could have had their email account hacked into.  We will talk about spoofing and hacking later on this week.  Then there is a different email address in the Reply To line, which includes the term FedEx, but is not a legitimate FedEx extension . . . a simple Google search verified this.  Then, within the email there is a third email address, again with terms referring to FedEx, but if you look they are on the front part of the email address, the part after the @ is from gmx.com which is a free email service.  With free email services the person setting up the account has full control over the letter that appear before the @ in the email address.  I could go and create one right now that said WaltDisney@(insert free email service here) but that does not mean that the people who I am emailing are getting emails from Walt Disney.

Third, look at the phone number provided . . . Tell: +234 807 363 6733 . . . that is WAY too many numbers to be a United States phone number.  Another Google search tells me that 234 phone numbers are from Nigeria, and Nigeria is the number one country of these types of scams.

So what have we learned today?  Google is our friend, look at the email address and see if it is a free email service, and check your phone numbers.

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