Can you think of any parodies, or “spoofs,” of a movie or song? Weird Al Yankovic is an example of a musician who made a living singing spoofs of real songs. In the online world, spoofs are similar. Spoofing is a type of hack where an email is sent from a malicious source that is impersonating someone you know, such as your bank, or a friend or family member. Spoofed emails often ask for personal information, such as asking you to reply with an account number for verification. The email spoofer then uses this account number to access your bank account and other personal details.
The reason the email looks like it is from a person you know is likely because that person’s email was hacked, and hackers obtained your email address from your friend or family member’s computer.
It’s a good idea to set up your email system so you can preview an email without actually opening it up. In this case, the best thing to do is not to open the email, then perhaps contact the person (separately from the email, such as calling) to ask if this is indeed something they sent. If you determine the email is unsafe, mark it as Spam (“spam” is unsolicited mail that you don’t want to receive) and your email service will block any future correspondence from the sender.
Often hackers and scammers will try to mimic your phone number when they contact you, calling from the same area code and first three numbers of your phone number. After you receive a call that is an attempt to scam you, block that number from calling your phone. Most phones have a “Block this Caller” option when you review the phone call’s details. Your phone’s user guide or online help can describe the steps, if needed.
Add yourself to the National Do Not Call List Registry at www.donotcall.gov