Identifying Potential Cyber Scams

Posted by Jennifer M. Settles, Esq.Apr 10, 20240 Comments

In today's interconnected world, cyber scams have become increasingly prevalent and sophisticated, targeting individuals and businesses alike.   Moreover, with enhanced developments in artificial intelligence (AI), scams will continue to be more credible and more frequent.    The ability to recognize and avoid potential cyber scams is crucial in safeguarding your business. By remaining vigilant and understanding the common signs and indicators, individuals can protect themselves from falling victim to these fraudulent activities. In this Blog post, we highlight some of the key factors to consider when evaluating a potential cyber scam.

1.  Suspicious Emails Or Messages

One of the most common methods used by cyber criminals is phishing, where they attempt to deceive individuals into revealing sensitive information. To guard against phishing, be cautious of unsolicited emails and text messages that ask for personal details, financial information, or login credentials. Look for red flags, including poor grammar, spelling mistakes and suspicious attachments, as these are often the hallmarks of a scam.  That said, with improvements to AI, spelling and grammar mistakes - which have traditionally been hallmarks of a scam - are becoming less frequent, so this alone is not a reliable enough means for protecting yourself.  

2.  Unusual Requests For Personal Information Or Donations

Legitimate entities typically do not request sensitive personal or financial information through unsolicited means. Be highly wary of phone calls, emails, or text messages urging you to provide account numbers, social security numbers, or passwords. Always verify the legitimacy of the request through trusted channels, such as official websites or through contact information you obtain independently.   Requests for gift cards or donations for someone's "sick aunt" (or the like) should be viewed with significant skepticism.

3.  Unrealistic Promises Or Offers

Scammers often lure victims with too-good-to-be-true offers or promises. Exercise caution when encountering a fantastic new client who offers to pay you up-front, unexpected lottery winnings, inheritance claims, or investment opportunities that guarantee exorbitant returns. Remember that legitimate financial transactions involve research, due diligence, and a healthy dose of skepticism. Always keep in mind the old adage that if an offer or prospect seems too good to be true, it probably is.

4.  Urgency And Pressure Tactics

Cyber scammers frequently create a sense of urgency to prompt impulsive decisions. They may use tactics like pressuring you to fund money immediately, limited-time offers, countdown timers, or threats of dire consequences to manipulate victims into taking immediate action. Avoid succumbing to such pressure and always take the time to assess the situation calmly. Legitimate organizations will respect your need for careful consideration.

5.  Suspicious URLs And Websites

Verify the authenticity of websites before sharing any personal information or making online payments. Check for the presence of "https://" and a padlock symbol in the address bar to confirm if the connection is secure. Be cautious of websites with slight misspellings or variations of legitimate domain names or logos, as these are often used to deceive users.

Before you click on any links in email or on the web, hover your cursor over the link without actually clicking, to see where the link really goes. When you put your cursor over a link without clicking, your web browser will show you (usually on the bottom of the screen or next to the cursor arrow) the actual address the link goes to.  This simple approach can be a good way to avoid clicking on scam links.

6.  Poorly Secured Payment Gateways

When conducting online transactions, ensure that the payment gateways are secure and reputable. Look for recognizable trust marks, such as SSL certificates or third-party security seals. Avoid entering financial details on websites that lack encryption or display unfamiliar payment methods. 

7.  Wire Transfers

Always confirm wire transfer instructions over the phone with a verified or known contact person before wiring funds.

8. Deep Fakes

With continuous improvements to artificial intelligence, new types of scams are occurring regularly.   Imposter scams, in which a person's voice or likeness is cloned, are happening more frequently and with better and better realistic quality.   With a few clips of a person's voice and speaking cadence, AI can clone a person's voice and create fake requests for money to unsuspecting victims.     Its important to pause and consider whether a request for money could be a deep fake before sending the money - even if the request is coming from an apparent friend or loved one.  If possible, hang up the phone and call back the person yourself, to confirm whether the request was real or not.  

9.  Mode of Transmission

It's important to keep in mind that cyber scams can arrive at your doorstep by many different modes, including phone calls, text messages, and emails.   Be alert to all of this and don't let your guard down. 

10.  Stay Up To Date

Cyber scams change frequently and are becoming increasingly sophisticated.  Stay up to date on the latest scam tactics so that you and your colleagues are always prepared and on the lookout for scams.  


Protecting oneself from cyber scams requires a combination of vigilance, skepticism, and knowledge. By staying informed and aware of the common indicators of potential cyber scams, individuals and businesses can significantly reduce their risk of becoming victims. Remember to remain cautious when sharing personal information online, and always verify the legitimacy of requests or offers independently. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and by practicing these precautions, we can collectively create a safer digital environment.

When in Doubt . . . .  Do Not Reply, Delete the Message, and Confirm the Message Independently

Jennifer M. Settles, Esq.  is a corporate lawyer with the Law Office of Jennifer M. Settles.   She advises clients on M&A transactions, commercial contracts, real estate matters, financing transactions and corporate law.  To schedule a free consultation with Jennifer, please call 602-617-3938, or email us though the  Contact Form on our website,

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