Alexis: Welcome to Scam Academy. You’ll spend the day witnessing the tips and tricks behind the art of scamming, and if you’re good enough you’ll earn your Scam Academy diploma. At last count, in just one year, hundreds of thousands of people said they’d received an email scam. It’s a lot, isn’t it? But don’t despair, because we’re here to show you the seven signs an email might not be all it seems.
Tony: Take Five to check whether the sender’s address doesn’t match the website address of the organisation it says it’s from. The email address doesn’t use your proper name – using something like ‘Dear Customer’ instead. There’s a sense of urgency, asking you to act immediately. There’s a prominent website link which may seem like the proper address, but with one character different. There’s a request for personal information. There are spelling and grammatical errors. And finally, the entire text of the email is within an image rather than the usual text format, and the image contains an embedded hyperlink to a bogus site.
Alexis: It is time to put your knowledge to the test. What Scott did is he sent each and every one of you five emails. Only one of those emails is a genuine email, four of them are scam emails. Let’s see if you can spot the genuine email. Rufus, you’re going to go first.
Rufus: So this is a brand of motorcycle that I really love. Their website doesn’t end in .net.
Alexis: Good, very good.
Rufus: So that’s not from them.
Carol: Science Museum. The place.
Rufus: I used to work there, and so for every reason in the world this could be genuine.
Carol: Password reset request. I wouldn’t even go anywhere near that one.
Alexis: Mostly with resetting password emails, you will have to have requested a password reset.
Carol: A restaurant I go into probably once a week. (Pause) Ah, Joel Dommett. Lots of spelling mistakes including his name. (Pause) ‘Please click the following link to renew your domain for the default term.’
Alexis: Okay, and if you hover above that link, where would it take you? Don’t click on it, but where would it take you?
Carol: Oh, to incorrect.
Carol: So that’s my clue.
Alexis: That’s your clue.
Donna: This is from the British Fashion Council. I did request a new password. (Pause) The next one’s from the Tate, it feels a bit fake. I’m going to say my real email is from the Tate.
Alexis: And you’d be right.
Donna: Yey! (Pause) I think as a mum I’ll be going home and having a conversation with my daughter about how good these fake emails are, and how good the fraudsters can be.
Alexis: See, it might be easy for criminals to send email scams, but it’s also easy to beat them. Just Take Five to remember what we’ve told you. Also remember, if you ever feel unsure about anything, never hesitate to contact the organisation in question, your bank or your credit card provider, on a number that you trust, such as the number on their website or the number on the back of your payment card.