Email scams rise at tax season

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — The Office of Technology at the University of Central Missouri recently warned the faculty, staff and students through an email notification that there is often a rise in the number of scam attempts during tax season.
The email messages from scammers might look familiar to some:
“We want to transfer these funds to you.”
“Can you keep this money safe for me?”
“This is a risk-free transaction.”
According to the Federal Trade Commission, millions of people are affected by fraud and internet scams each year and the schemes aren’t always as obvious as these.
Mel Gross, manager of the Office of Technology, said scammers are getting better at hiding behind fake email addresses and fooling people with links that look legitimate.
The Office of Technology assists the people of UCM in determining if an email is valid or if it’s a scam.
“Nine out of 10 times, it’s an automatic response, and we’ll tell you it’s not a real email and that you should delete it,” Gross said.
Asia Casey, a public relations student at UCM, said she’s used to finding questionable emails in her junk mail folder because of how long she has been using the internet and her email.
“I usually just delete them,” she said. “Some of them are actually pretty funny.”
One of the companies that Casey said regularly sends her emails is disguised as a dating website for elderly people.
Casey said she has learned to be cautious when opening emails because she often shops online. She said the more she puts her information out there, the more of a risk there can be for scams.
According to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, it’s important for email and internet users to be aware of what these scams look like, how they work, and what each individual can do to avoid them.
There are many things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of these deceptive schemes. The US-CERT encourages users to take these specific precautions:

  • Be careful when opening attachments and links.
  • Don’t trust every email that is sent to you.
  • Have a clear understanding of the email policies you do business with.
  • Take the time to notice if there are any typos or spelling errors.

For assistance with questionable emails, contact the Technology Support Center at [email protected] or call 660-543-4357.