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Avoid email hoaxes

Hoax emails are the online equivalent of getting a chain letter in your post. They can clutter up your mailbox and, by the nature of them, cause unnecessary stress.

They can be used by spammers to try and collect email addresses, while some have more sinister connotations. Check out these ways to help identify and avoid the most common hoaxes and scams:

  • Use your common sense
    If that job offer, prize, holiday or freebie looks too good to be true - it probably is.

  • Don't get phished
    Don't give out personal or account details just because you are asked for them.
    Keep your identity safe.

  • Be wary of unexpected email
    Never click on a hyperlink or download a file from an email from an unknown source. It may contain a virus.

  • Money, money, money
    Heartfelt stories or get rich quick pyramid schemes are both methods used to get you to give crooks your cash. Question who is writing these emails - is it genuinely in your interest to hand out money?

  • Stop the chain
    If an email promises good luck by forwarding to a group of friends then it is a chain letter and should be deleted.

  • Avoid hoaxers posing as AOL staff
    AOL will never ask you for your billing details or password by email or IM. Only sign on to AOL and use AOL Keyword: Billing to update your details online.

  • If in doubt, notify AOL
    If you receive an email you suspect may be a scam or hoax, always report it to AOL.

  • Ask other members
    Visit the message board to share tips and advice on avoiding email scams.