“Requesting an urgent business transaction!” Do you see this type of email landing in your inbox all the time? You may know that this is spam and not to open or click on anything, but do the seniors in your life know? What if they click on a link and provide their personal information? In this blog, I will share some basic tips you can pass onto your older family members and friends so they can spot potential spam emails.

Tip 1. Check the sender’s email address

Legitimate companies would send an email from the address containing their company name. For instance, a legitimate email address would look something like reservations@abcairline.ca. You can advise the seniors in your life that if they see a long string of numbers in front of the @ sign or modified company name such as reservations@abcairline.company.ca, they may need to question the authenticity of the email address.

Tip 2. Greeting message

Does the email start with “Dear Valued Customer”? Then the email may be spam. Generally speaking, companies that want to get in contact with your parents will either phone them or address them by first and last name in an email.

Tip 3. Never give out personal information

Many banks and institutions publicly say that they never ask for personal information in an email. Some spam emails may say something like “immediate action is required to keep your account active” and that is usually a sign of a spam email. Personal information such as bank account number, username and password should never be shared over email.

Tip 4. Read the content carefully

If the email asks you to “take immediate action” or “click on the link” or if you spot grammatical or spelling mistakes within the body of an email, it’s a good indicator that the email may be spam.

Tip 5. Do not touch the emails in the spam box

You might think this tip is straight-forward but your parents may go in their spam box to look for a certain email. There might be a “grandparent scam” in the spam folder where it allures your parents with subjects like “Grandpa, I need your help”. Emails in the spam box ended up there for a reason. It’s best to leave them there.

We recognize that not all spam emails are scams, however, if you want to report a scam, please contact the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre or your local police. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre also has more information about scams.


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