English Majors Save Lives!

My email goes through and catches a lot of spam. Some does not get caught and I have to eyeball it myself. I always wonder who actually clicks on some of these obvious ones for Viagara or Obama Coins. I don’t think many people are likely to fall for those.

There is another kind of phishing scam that frightens me for people who don’t speak English, ready too quickly, aren’t familiar with phony emails or are lonely for communication–the same people who get scammed in real life.

So how can I, a humble English Major help?

Spam with bad English is sneaky–it’s text and it doesn’t flag many keywords like “enlargement” or “goes all night.” Text can look a lot more convincing, especially when it comes from an address like “irs-usa.com.”

First clue: .com is for commercial ventures. It’s not a strict rule, but you can be sure a true US government agency will use the “.gov” suffix.

Here’s the text of the last one I got:

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity
we have determined that you are eligible to receive
a tax refund under section 501(c) (3) of the
Internal Revenue Code. Tax refund value is $189.60.
Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days
in order to IWP the data received.
If u don’t receive your refund within 9 business
days from the original IRS mailing date shown,
you can start a refund trace online

Unless the sender is young, foreign, stupid, busy, or Prince, the IRS is not likely to use “u” in place of “you.”

There are a few other hints, let me know if you can’t see them and maybe I can help you with the blind spots in your own copy.

Phony IRS Email

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