You remember your third-grade teacher telling you that “i” goes before “e” and that you should always capitalize proper nouns. You had a spelling test every week, and if you paid attention, you made it to fourth-grade with the ability to spell most words correctly.
And unless you want to be a victim of identity theft or online scams, you need to remember those spelling rules from elementary school.
Online scams are notorious for including spelling and grammatical errors. If you come across the following errors in an e-mail, pop-up window, or Web site, chances are someone is trying to scam you.
Syntax is weird, quite much
Check out the text of this e-mail scam that came to my inbox last week:
“I sincerely ask for forgiveness for I know this may seem like a completeintrusion to your privacy but right about now this is my best option ofcommunication. This mail might come...”
Not only does this sender have spacing issues, but it is clearly not English syntax. If you somehow fall for the opportunity to receive a wealthy inheritance, you should at least be tipped off that the person writing the e-mail isn’t legit.
Plain-old spelling errors
A “Microsoft” virus alert that looks like this should be a clue that you are being scammed:
“Warnig: your computer has been infected with a serius virus. Please click here to download the appropriate anti-virus.”
The pop-up window had the Microsoft logo and otherwise looked like a legitimate message. Upon further review, the misspellings of the words “Warning” and “serious” were sure-fire signs that the message was not from Microsoft. I’m positive that Bill Gates et al can afford to hire a proofreader or at least implement spell-check on their outgoing messages.
Kindly tell me if you are a scam artist
Spelling errors may not be the only clue that you are being scammed. Certain words and mannerisms should tip you off that an e-mail is from a hacked e-mail account. If you get an e-mail from a friend stating the following, be on your guard:
“Hi. I kindly ask your assistance as I have been stranded in London. I kindly need you to wire me $2040 dollars so that I can fly home via the airlines. I have lost my ticket and you are my only hope. Please wire money to the number below…”
“Kindly”is not a word most of your friends use on a daily basis, but it is quite popular amongst foreign hackers. Oh, and isn’t it obvious that your friend is flying home via the “airlines?” It’s the little things that make a difference.
Just be careful
In the future, hackers will probably come up with better systems to scam us. They will hire copywriters and perfect their messages. Even so, we have to be extra careful. And, as always, feel free to give us a call at (928) 468-0000 for any computer-related questions.
Kindly be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Pleased you will be if carefulness is observed.
Daniel Taft is the senior network administrator and member/owner of Computer Problem Specialists, LLC with a degree in applied computer science. His career spans more than 20 years.