It happened. I fell for it. Those dreaded internet scams that you always hear about found its way into my email inbox, I clicked without thinking, and seconds later, I realized I made a huge mistake.

While the email looked like a typical message, there were some red flags that I noticed once it was too late. Here are some tips on how to avoid falling for internet scams.

I heard my phone ding and looked down to see an email notification from the "Department of Transportation." I thought to myself, Uh-oh, did they catch me on a stoplight camera blowing through a red light? I didn't recall a time doing that. I opened the email, which said the following:


My eyes immediately went to the hyperlinks. Without skipping a beat, I clicked the link, ready to figure out how to address this.

Tip No. 1: Check Who It's Addressed To and From
In this one, the hacker put "Mr./Ms. Levine" because they did not know my gender. Then, it was signed "Department of Transportation." Well, which DOT? Mass? Rhode Island? The "To" and "From" were very broad and I would have caught it if I was more careful.

Tip No. 2: Read the Fine Print
I use my fiancé's last name, Levine, on a regular basis, but on legal documents, I still have my maiden name. If this citation was legitimate, it would have stated my legal name. Another red flag that I should have seen.

Tip No. 3: Fact Check
Instead of clicking the hyperlink, I should have typed it into a search engine to check if it's real or fake. Lesson learned.

Luckily, I have not noticed any damage done to my laptop, but it has certainly taught me a lesson to look a little closer. Hackers are everywhere, stay safe everyone.

KEEP READING: These are the top 6 scams connected to the pandemic

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