In today’s technology-focused world, it is inevitable to encounter spam at one point or another, especially if you frequently use email for your business. Spammers try to find their way into inboxes to collect personal information, such as your social security number or financial information and use it to their advantage. They typically use email or phone calls to gather the information they need and use deceptive techniques to trick you into responding or clicking on a faulty link.
Even though spam is all-too-common in the online world, there are ways to defend yourself against it. Ultimately, successfully avoiding spam boils down to recognizing when you’ve encountered a spam lead that seems off or requests personal information from you. It’s important to be alert and protect yourself so your business can avoid the consequences!
According to many experts, the following five signs are typical across almost all instances of online spam. By detecting these suspicious signs, you’ll be more likely to determine what is a real email or phone call so you can avoid spam leads.
- A request to wire funds. Scammers devise convincing reasons why they need you to deal them large amounts of money remotely, so beware of these suspicious requests and always double-check the accuracy of their claims before following up. Legitimate couples should be sending you money, not the other way around.
- Scams from users in foreign countries. Many scammers from foreign countries offer free honeymoons or sad stories about something happening while traveling that they use as a means to steal your personal information, so be cautious about that possibility. Unless you know them personally, it’s likely they’re trying to trap you.
- A request to provide a code. Scammers may ask you to provide a code that has been sent to your cell phone or email, which allows them to access your contact information and more. Couples should never need to send you a code to confirm your services for a wedding, so this should be an immediate red flag.
- A request for personal or financial information. This one is easy. Anytime you see a request like this, don’t respond! While it’s common for wedding businesses to need to collect personal and financial info from booked clients, they should not need this information from you. Always consult your legal or financial professional before providing private information if you have any doubts.
- Typos and emails filled with errors. If you receive an email with misspellings and blatant grammatical errors, a lot of urgency, or extreme emotion, beware. In a similar fashion, emails from unknown senders that are seeking your help with financial or family issues are usually a fraud. While it’s certainly possible for a legitimate lead to have bad grammar, you should be cautious if you choose to reply.
If you notice any of these suspicious signs, follow these suggested precautions to avoid giving up important information:
Do not wire funds to anyone you haven’t met personally or have an existing long-term relationship with, and do not accept wire funds that you did not initiate. There aren’t many instances (if any) that you should be wiring funds to a client, so this should be a dead giveaway you’ve encountered a scam.
Do not provide your Social Security Number to anyone! Unless you have verified that the request is coming from a trusted source, you should not consider providing this information. Clients should never be asking for this information, anyway.
Set email spam filters to reduce unwanted spam or scam mail. And if you do receive a spam lead, mark it as spam in your inbox so it will be filtered out in the future.
Slow down the process. Most spammers want you to act quickly before you process the information that they try to make seem urgent. Try to slow down before you respond or provide any information they request, especially since couples plan their weddings far in advance and rarely send extremely urgent messages a year before the wedding.
Before you agree to a deal or transaction that offers anything for free or discounted, do extensive research first. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Never download anything from a sender that you don’t recognize, because it will often be a scam that steals your information or gives your device a virus. Even if you recognize the sender, proceed with caution.