Everyday at Bowland IT, we receive emails forwarded from our clients with the first line of their email being ‘Is this real?’.

Unfortunately there isn’t an easy way to stop scam emails, large companies can subscribe to our email filtering service, but this only works out cost effective if you have 10 or more users. The reason why spam filters built into their mail clients (a mail client is software like Outlook or Mac Mail) don’t work is because the scammers are aware of this and avoid their mail being blocked by changing their send from email address each time. Our mail filtering service involves manual managment of emails that come into mailboxes, on a Yes/No basis for releasing mail.

Top 10 things to watch out for;

10. Card Details Expired Emails

You may receive an email that look like they are from companies such as Netflix or Paypal letting you know that your card details have expired. Don’t click on any links in the email, simply log into your Netflix account, go to your account settings and check to see if your latest card is showing on file for Netflix. You will notice that Netflix will never show you your full card details but they should show you the last four digits and the expiry date. If this matches, you know you are fine.

9. The HMRC scam

It takes less than 60 seconds for a scammer to grab one of HMRCs previously sent legitimate emails and doctor it to include their own emails. The links within these emails are what you need to watch out for, simply clicking on the link could cause an account vulnerability on your PC. Remember if you click on any links, change your passwords immediately.

8. The Fake Login Screen Scam

It is very easy for a scammer who knows what they are doing to build a data collection form that looks like a login screen. Filling in your password in this screen isn’t going to log you into anything, it is just going to send your password off to the scammers which will then give them access to your account. If you think you’ve accidentally put your password into a webpage following a fake email, change your password immediately. If you use the same password for other websites, it is advised you change these passwords also. A way to check you are entering the password into the correct screen is to look at the address bar at the top of the screen to ensure it is the correct website.

7. The embarrassment ransom scam

What you do in your spare time is no business of anybody else but yourself as long as what you do isn’t criminal. Many people have handed over money because scammers have suggested that they have dirt on the recipient, for example they may say they’ve hacked into your PC and downloaded your nudes, know about your porn collection or they may say that they know about your love affair and they are going to tell your husband. The fact is, they know nothing about you, they are just praying on the fact that their timing is right with an event happening in your life. To avoid embarrassment, people make a payment. These people are just paying for fresh air! Just laugh off these emails and delete them, as they are just from scammers trying their luck.

6. Inheritance Scam

You’ve received an email from a foreign government suggesting that you have a distance relative that has died, leaving you with a multi million dollar estate. Most people don’t fall for this, but sadly some do. They may request a payment from you to prove your identity so that they can release the funds, do not pay them anything and just delete the email.

5. Microsoft email you to say there is an issue with your PC

It may become worrying if Microsoft email you to say there is an issue with your PC. They email to say that you have a dodgy licence or saying that you have a security issue that needs sorting.

Without sounding like we are speaking negatively about Microsoft, they are just a software and hardware sales company at the end of the day. They have no concern over your computers security or wellbeing, this is why there are IT Support companies and anti virus software out there. Microsoft have an onus to continually keep on top of security issues with their software, but they deal with this in form of rolling out updates.

These scams can also reach innocent people in form of phone calls and texts, be vigilant and either put the phone down or delete the message.

If you are ever in doubt, pop your PC into Bowland IT for a health check.

4. The Invoice Scam

If you are a company owner, and have an accounts team dealing with your finances, make sure there is a system in place to approve payments before they leave your account.

Scam emails will often land suggesting payment is due. Also the company owners inbox can be hacked into, and the accounts team can receive an invoice from ‘the company owner’ which authorises payment. We always recommend you phone the company owner first to ensure that the payment is legitimate.

3. Paypal Payment Scam

It is very easy for a scammer to set up an email which looks like it comes from PayPal. This can happen in both form of sending and receiving payments.

Scammers will either send a fake invoice payment request email to make you send money without it going through PayPal which means they keep your money and you have no PayPal protection. Fake emails can also land to say money has been received which usually leads to the end user shipping goods, however never ever do this without logging into your PayPal account first to check your balance.

2. Bank Details Scam

Never ever ever EVER! Send an invoice in Word Document format, or any other editable format. Scammers can log into mailboxes, and edit an invoice received to have their bank details on it. This means that you are at risk of releasing goods to clients and your money going elsewhere. Always PDF your invoices before sending them.

For an easy to use and free PDF writer, we recommend using Nitro PDF which will allow you to convert any printable document into PDF. To download, click on the following link – Download Now

It always advised for anybody sending money to check with the recipient first to ensure the bank details match. Never assume that the bank details haven’t been changed. DOUBLE CHECK!

1. The File Corruption Scam

Scammers may call or email end users to trick them into getting into their PC. There idea is to get on, and run a tool that will corrupt your entire PC, documents, family photos, business files etc. The scammer will demand four figures to fix your files, but when you pay up they will do a runner and not actually fix the files at all.

This scam usually targets the vulnerable PC users, but it is advised to never let anybody you don’t know into your PC via Team Viewer, Log Me In or Any Desk. Phone Bowland IT if you are ever in doubt, we will know straight away if you could be about to step into a costly mistake.

How to protect your PC?

At Bowland IT, we offer a security solution which is fully monitored by our engineers. We don’t just expect the software to do the job it is supposed to, we constantly monitor our users PCs and catch viruses before they infect our clients PCs.

Our cyber security software helps protect end users from Viruses, Spyware, Malware, Fraud, Banking Scams, and email protection. We charge £5.99 + VAT per PC for this (bulk deals available for multiple PCs)

To join Bowland’s Cyber Security platform, call us on 0800 689 0099 or email info@bowlandit.co.uk. You will also notice at the bottom of this screen an opportunity to chat to us. We will usually respond within 30 minutes maximum.