I got an email from one of my blog readers. He just received an email scam with a very personal touch. Supposedly a “lawyer” was trying to contact him to tell him that an inheritance awaits him. As most emails with such claims should be rejected right away he stopped to take a second look. He told me to notice one crucial detail: his name being used in the content of the email. This is new on the part of identity thieves and I certainly know that this change will net more identity theft victims than ever before.
You see, most of the time a scam artist sends you an email requesting your personal information. This email is often impersonal and direct. Your name is not used throughout and you are less confused about the ultimate fate of that particular email. However, incorporation of personal information such as first and last name literarily became a new fad in the identity theft world. This process in time consuming for the perpetrators as more effort is needed to put these names in each email. Don’t worry. Most likely it’s all automated, so you don’t have to feel bad for them.
The names are easy to obtain as they are part of every email address. No, they don’t log in to your account (although your email may be hijacked). They simply keep the chain letters like these:
- Forward this to 10 friends and your wish will come true, or
- Microsoft will give you a cruise vacation if you forward this email to 25 people, or
- Send this to as many people as you can so we can lower our gas prices
You get the idea. Participation in such emails can leave you exposed to identity theft. The criminals just wait for their turn to get that email, and by then it is loaded with thousands of email addresses. They simply extract the names and email addresses from the email and apply it to their own database. From there, they use a program to input your name in crucial spots of the content and Presto! An email scam is ready for launch.
By now you probably know what I have to say about email scams. Delete them, spam filter them, burn them, whatever you need to do to get rid of them, DO IT! If you get a more personal email requesting for contact or personal information you must understand that it is most likely a scam which can cost you your identity, hard earned credit score, and your sanity. So, don’t kid yourself this email is really going to make you rich. And, if you are not sure, consult with someone more knowledgeable to avoid any negative consequences.