The Evolution of Email Scams: How to Protect Yourself from Modern Cyber Threats


Subject: Untold Wealth is Just Away A Click.

Hi, I'm a creative director from N.J, and I'd like to offer you an exciting business opportunity. My wife has frozen my BBQ allowence, but my loss is your gain. If you send me a $100 gift card to BBQrUswe can both become wealthy in grilled goods. But time is running out! Send it now!! Act fast!!!

Ah, the good old days of email scams. Remember when a Nigerian prince's fortune, untapped oil wells, and WWII gold were only a money transfer away? Remember how easy it was to spot those fraud emails? Between broken English, lousy grammar, and misspelled words (see previous paragraph), you knew it wasn't a world-renowned royal asking for $500 worth of CVS gift cards. Alas, Internet scammers have evolved, and so have their tactics.

Did you know? Hackers see every Wi-Fi-enabled device as a doorway into your private and corporate data.

Motivational factor$.

Hackers are motivated by many things, money being the most important.


Their targets? You.

  • Your credit cards.
  • Your driver's license.
  • Your government I.D. cards.
  • Your health benefit accounts.
  • Your financial/Bank accounts.


How do they target us? Find out now—but hurry!

They try to invoke an emotional response by creating tension. Their goal is to get you to respond without thinking.

  • Offering you something free or a discount for a limited time.
  • Claiming you'll lose something.
  • A fraud alert!
  • Saying your account has been compromised.
  • Appealing to your sympathy—"Won't you help with my BBQ fund?"


Popular techniques? It's all in the -ishing.

  • Spam.
  • Phishing.
  • Smishing, or SMS phishing.
  • Pop-ups on your screen.
  • Phone calls.
  • Social engineering, where they want you to reveal bits of personal information.
Phishing Email





Phishing with a joke. I recently received this offer via email. Kudos to the hackers for choosing a picture where the family points and laughs at anyone who falls for it.

How can you protect yourself? Suit up, cyber-sleuth!

  • Trust your Spidey Sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Are you expecting an email from the sender?
  • Hover over links in the email to see where you are going to be redirected. Look for errors like misspellings.
  • Break the communication chain and go out to the site directly to confirm.
  • Call the number on the back of your card.


Lookouts! Step away from the mouse.

  • Attachments can be dangerous.
  • Delete suspicious emails without clicking any links.
  • Don't share sensitive information via email or text.
  • Avoid putting personal information on social media.


Passwords. Ugh, I know.

  • Never reuse the same password.
  • Use complex passwords that are easy to remember.
  • When possible, use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA).

Did you know? Some companies require their I.T. departments to test their employees by sending fake emails to trick them into opening a document or clicking a link.

If you feel you've been compromised and want to check, here's a quick way of telling. Hat tip to MaryBeth Reeves for this:

  1. Go to
  2. Click 'My Sign-ins' on the left menu.
  3. Check 'Recent Activity', also on the left. If there are locations you don't recognize, you may have been compromised.
  4. If something seems awry, report it to PTSI: [email protected].

Remember, if you have any money, someone will endeavor to separate you from it. Your personal information is a treasure trove in the wrong hands.

In closing, stay vigilant. Imagine all the hours we spend working to deliver powerful experiences for our clients. Well, hackers spend just as much time trying to get your information. Stealing is their full-time job, and they get better every day.


Want to laugh? Watch this video. We don't suggest you engage with hackers. This man is a trained professional. Not really, but it sounded good.