Email from a “Relative”

Sometimes spammers hijack real people’s email accounts and use these to send spam scams to everyone in the person’s email address book. These can be highly effective scams as trusting friends and family are more likely to click on the link out of trust – and to figure out why it was sent. This example is one of these scams.

In this case, a real email titled “the link and e-mail” was sent to many family members. The scammers stole the subject line and sent it to everyone to make it appear as a response to the first email.

Test Your Skills

You should be able to find at least six red flags that tell you this e-mail is fraudulent. Click on the picture below to see the answers, but try to find them yourself, first. If you find five, you have little to worry about. If you find fewer than four, consider practicing on some more of our spam scam examples.

Here are the red flags that show this email is a scam:

  1. The subject line looks legitimate, but it has nothing to do with the content of the email.
  2. The email is sent to “Dear Friend”, not my name, and not recognizing that I’m related to him.
  3. Not only is the grammar poor, but the whole question is “off” because I just chatted with him a few days prior to receiving this email.
  4. Here is the meat of the scam, I’m supposed to click on this link – which is unquestionably loaded with malware.
  5. The scammers failed to update their spam (or run a spell check) – it’s January 8th, but the scam says ‘the Cristmas day is coming…”
  6. Robert doesn’t speak Spanish – and neither do I. Even if we did, no relative or friend would write it to me in two languages.  The only purpose of this is to try optimizing the scam to a broader set of potential victims.

I have no idea if the Spanish version is as poorly written as the English version, but if it is, then I hope those with Spanish as a first language, or who are fluent in Spanish get as much entertainment from the poor grammar as I do.

When in doubt, call your friend/family member and ask – but for scams this poorly executed, no one should fall victim.



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