Spotting Online Scams: Essential Safety Tips for Email & Call Fraud Prevention

Learn essential tips to recognize and avoid online scams, including email frauds and deceptive calls, targeting both the elderly and general population. Protect yourself and loved ones by understanding scam tactics like spoofing and aggressive persuasion. Discover practical steps for verification and safety. Share to help the vulnerable. #OnlineSafety #ScamPrevention

May 29, 2023

How To Spot Scams Online?

I have heard a shocking number of stories regarding scams lately. I had a close friend who was a victim of one and lost a substantial amount of money. I have received many emails lately appearing to be from Paypal that were clearly not from them. If you find this helpful please share with someone of the older generation or anyone else who needs to hear it. Our elderly population is the most vulnerable to these threat actors.

Spoiler: If they are asking you to give them money and you were not expecting to pay, that is a major red flag. Especially if there is a specific and unusual form of payment like a wire transfer. I had a teller at WECU tell me they stopped an elderly woman from losing a great deal of money to a scam like this. God bless that young man.

How Do I Recognize a Scam?

The most prevalent scam I am seeing is email. My friend lost money this way. I have personally seen emails from "Paypal" recently and heard someone else has received these as well. With email there are a few things to check for. What these scammers are attempting to do is convince you to give them money, or information for them to steal your money. They have multiple tactics available. They can spoof their email meaning make it look like their email is legitimate or they can include links.

The easiest ones to spot are the ones that do not even bother spoofing their email. If their email address domain ( is the domain) is not from the organization that is supposedly contacting you, ignore it and mark as spam. I would suggest not clicking links as this could download a virus but if you do verify that the website you go to is correct. For instance, if you clicked the blog link the website should say If it is not the 1pc website, that is a problem. Definitely do not put your credential information in because that is how they can hack into your accounts.

Another story

This one is not "online" per say but I think there are very valuable lessons to be learned here. I heard another story from a woman who received a call that was supposedly a Deputy Sheriff telling her she was in trouble. They gave her a name and badge number that she was able to verify by looking online. They said, "Stay on the phone. Do not hang up." She ended up losing money to this person.

So what do we learn from this? These scammers are going to use time pressure, aggression, threats, and whatever means to make you feel like you have to comply. And comply quickly. They do not want you to have a chance to think because if you have a chance to think you will see through their schemes. First, if you are not expecting a call it is perfectly reasonable to be suspicious. Second, why are you not allowed to hang up? You think a law enforcement officer would not allow you to call the sheriff's department to verify you are supposed to be receiving this call? A real law enforcement officer would absolutely allow you to do this.

It is important in any of these cases to verify that you are being contacted by a person who works at the organization that they claim to be from. You do this by looking the organization up online, finding their phone number, and seeing if they are actually supposed to be calling you. If you are not sure how to do this contact the tech savvy person in your life. You do not use the phone number from their original communication be that text, phone call, or email. You find the company or organization's number independently.

The Process of Avoiding a Scam

1. Calm Down

Do not let scare tactics, threats, time pressure, and the like keep you from thinking. Take a moment and a deep breath.

2. Verify

Whether it is "PayPal" or a "Deputy Sheriff" verify this by calling that organization directly. Do not use contact info from their communication. Go find it yourself.

3. Respond

If it is the organization that they claimed then you can respond.

4. Report

If this is a scam report it to an authority.


Be careful out there folks. With AI these scams are going to become more common and more convincing. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or ideas for how I can improve this post.

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