EDITORIAL: Internet scammers abundant

In this era of technological advancement, and digital correspondence, there is never a shortage of scams floating around cyberspace.

We receive them in our in-box on a daily basis, and have become adept at spotting them.

For many, however, the realistic premise and circumstances surrounding many scams pull in victims before those being taken advantage of even realize what is happening.

Sadly, the hunters often prey on the elderly – we suspect for a couple of reasons. Not only are the elderly generally less cognizant when it comes to the digital universe, but, perhaps even more so, they are being targeted because they are too trusting in people.

We get calls, emails and visits from seniors on a nearly-weekly basis, asking us to post another warning about the latest scam.

There are a couple of tips to follow that can help avoid what could result in financial devastation.

First and foremost, if it sounds too good to be true, it generally is.

The emails from wealthy widows in faraway places are not as abundant as they used to be, but they still are coming from time to time, which indicates they are still effective. Keep this in mind: It is highly unlikely that you have a long-lost relative in Nigeria; no one has randomly selected you to inherit their millions.

When it comes to emails involving the Canada Revenue Agency, this is an easy one to debunk: The CRA does not use email. In what is likely an act of self-preservation, the CRA relies on good old Canada Post for its initial contact.

Another method to thwart the scammers is to check the email address – not the “name,” but the actual address.

There is almost always some kind of typo in it. “custimerservice@bemo.com; info at faccebook.com; accounts@payypal.com,” etc.

All these emails request you click on an accompanying link. Don’t ever click on that link.

If you still think it’s genuine, reply to the email itself. It will almost always bounce back to you.

The best advice we can give is to ramp up your skepticism. It’s a sad reality in today’s world.

–Terry Farrell

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