The other day a client forwarded to me an email she had received that offered a free website analysis, with promises to fix everything to increase a bunch of [imaginary] problems for only several thousand dollars. The client was worried and wondered if her site -- and business -- was in trouble. She wasn't. It was a scammy, spammy marketing ploy.
A novice web designer colleague got an email with a detailed instruction wrapped in a job prospect. She was asked to accept a $4000 check, and send it to a content writer, who would then send $1500 back to the designer for work on the prospect's website. Uh, no.
Just today I got a sextortion email claiming to have put some malware on my email account, and demanding more than $900 in bitcoin currency to remove it. The FBI has been tracking these, and says to not interact with them. That means, don't click on anything, and don't respond in any way, except by checking to see if your info has been vulnerable in a data breach.
Don't fall for those scary threats. Just make sure you have really, REALLY good internet security software. Change your crucial account passwords right away. And report these scams to:
These sorts of scams have been around for a long time, and most of us know better than to send money to a prince on another continent, forward a check in order to get a refund, or click on links sent by unknown persons even when sent through the contact form on our own websites.
Many of these scam emails can be easily detected when:
the sender name doesn't correspond to the sender address,
the English grammar, spelling, syntax are bad
the content is full of scare tactics
there is a demand for payment
the email seems to come from a company you don't do business with
you are addressed as "dear" or "friend" or some other unwarranted familiarity
It's an unfortunate but common attempt to defraud those of us with websites these days. Some scammers are laughably transparent, but others are increasingly sophisticated. The best protection is to be aware, independently check out everything you feel tempted by -- NEVER NEVER clicking anything in the email until you can confirm it's legit -- have excellent internet security software and run scans often, and change passwords every few months. Keeping passwords OFF the computer in a dedicated notebook, or in a thumbprint guarded phone app, is highly recommended.