Don't get scammed! SCAMD your emails

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Don't get scammed! SCAMD your emails

We’ve got to hand it to the hackers, phishers and identity thieves: They’re getting good. Their emails are beginning to look so legitimate, they've almost fooled us. Sometimes, these emails even look like they are coming from us!

Yeah, the bad guys are getting good. But we’re better. And we’re going to help our members be better too.

Scam emails can often include legitimate company logos, return addresses and even 1-800 phone numbers. It’s understandable that you might think they are real. If you’ve received an email that appears to be from AOL, try applying the SCAMD method to it. Check for:

S – Spelling and grammar

It never ceases to amaze us that a phisher or identity thief will put a good amount of time and effort into creating a truly genuine-looking email and then spell every other word wrong or add gratuitous commas. Rest assured, a real AOL email goes through a rigorous review and approval process. If you’ve received an email with multiple spelling or grammar errors, it’s probably a scam.

C – Certified Mail

AOL sends official communications as Certified Mail. Certified AOL Mail is a feature designed to help you easily identify email that has been sent by AOL. You can recognize certified mail before you even open it by the green ribbon in your inbox. If it has a green ribbon, then it’s legit!

A – Asking for personal information

Almost no legitimate company will email you requesting personal information such as your password or your social security number. If you receive an email claiming you need to update your billing information, check all the other factors first (are the logos correct, is everything spelled right, did it arrive as a certified mail?). If you have any suspicions about the email, call the company before you click on any links within the email or provide any personal information. NOTE: Do not use a phone number provided in a suspicious email. Many phishers have gotten so sophisticated that they will set up fake toll-free phone numbers to collect your information. Go to the website of the company and use the “Contact Us” link to find the company’s phone number.

M – Mass Mailings

If you got an email claiming you’ve been selected to win a prize or your credit information has expired and there are 500 other recipients listed in the “to” or “cc” fields, chances are it’s a scam.

D – Details

You can often find out the true return email address of a sender by clicking on the “Details” link under the “To:” section, in the header of your email. There is typically a lot of information in this view, but if the sender is using a fake “from” address, you’ll see the real one in the details view, usually under “Reply to.”

One final word of advice: Never, ever respond to a spam email. By doing so, you confirm that your email account is active, and you'll likely be flooded with more spam and scam attempts.

If you are unsure of an email's authenticity, forward the email to Highlight the message you want to forward, and then click Forward to ensure that we receive the email along with the original message. If you prefer, you can also provide additional information before sending the email.

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Last updated: 07-16-2014
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