The sophistication of the email spammers improves every day, and everyone must increase their vigilance levels accordingly. Here is a screenshot of an email I recently received that exemplifies this. It arrived in my inbox with the sender’s name as Charlotte Sneed, our USATF Pacific’s Board of Athletics President:
At this point I was a bit suspicious, but I replied to the email saying I was available to hear more. Here is the reply I received:
Would you be able to get an Amazon Gift Card purchase done for me now with your personal funds? I will reimburse you tomorrow. I am planning on surprising some of our diligent Board Members with gifts, I want this to remain confidential until they receive their gifts. Let me know .
We should all know that any emails with requests for spending money need to be immediately tossed or sent to the appropriate company’s fraud department.
Also, to confirm any suspicious email as spam (which I should have done with the first email), check the email address associated with the sender’s name (click on the name in the sender’s line to see this). In this case it was “[email protected]”. This was not an email address I had ever seen Charlotte use, so then I texted Charlotte asking her if she had sent this email. She replied “absolutely not”, and she gave me the only 2 email addresses she ever uses.
In lieu of texting the supposed email sender, you can check the contact list at pausatf.org, which has all the correct emails for everyone listed there. If it doesn’t match, toss the email or send it to the appropriate company’s fraud department.
I found the Amazon fake email department, filled out a form there and forwarded the gift card email to them.