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Email Scam email examples:

 "Phishing" scam - Business 

I received this scary-looking email about my Paypal account. From here it looks real. But there are so many scams these days, I'm suspicious...

When I click to open the email, I can see that it's not coming from Paypal at all. The real email address it's coming from is between the angle brackets (< >). See the area circled in red. 

Although it looks real, if I click on that Login button and type in my password... someone nefarious will steal it and get in to my Paypal account.

If it feels wrong and you're not sure - Don't click any links! 


Here's a short email scam that looks like it's from AOL.

It looks official, and it's short and to the point, but look again at the real email address it's coming from between the angle brackets. Definitely not from AOL.

Delete the email and definitely don't click the link.


"Phishing" scams - Personal 

Here's another "phishing" scam - this time from someone I know. Stephanie often sends me quick requests similar to this at the office, so I almost fell for it... The language used just seemed a little "off" for our normal email conversations, so I looked at the email address...

<> is definitely not Stephanie's email address!

I deleted it. If you're not sure, email the person asking you for the favor - but make sure to use the email address that you already have for them, NOT the one in the suspect email.

Please Note: NNV staff or volunteers will NEVER email or text you requesting you purchase something on our behalf. PLEASE contact the office if you receive a message that seems a bit off. (202) 935-6060 or

Two members of NNV were recently hit with very convincing, targeted phishing email attacks. Someone managed to get into their email address books and stole the addresses. They then created an email address very similar to the original and sent an email, similar to the one below, to all of the contacts which sounded very convincing (the names have been changed):

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Jane Smith <>
Date: Sat, Feb 20, 2021 at 12:56 PM
Subject: Have you gotten your vaccine?

I hope all is well. Have you gotten your vaccine?
I have had shot one and am scheduled for shot two on February 26.
I need a little favor from you tonight or tomorrow.

Sent from my iPhone

Jane's REAL email address is, but it’s very easy to overlook this small change. At least one member did respond thinking she was emailing Jane and had an email conversation with the fake “Jane”:

Hi Jane -

Yes, I had both shots at Sibley and very little reaction to either one.  
I'm glad you have had your 1st, with your 2nd already lined up.
What can I do for you?


Mary -

I got back from a foot doctor appointment yesterday and the doctor informed me that I have a nasty fracture on my left foot.(left leg bone just below the hip) I’m to stay off my foot as much as possible until I see him next month. It required surgery, a 3-week combined hospital.

I've been trying to purchase a Google play gift card for my sick niece whose birthday is today.  I tried getting them online on Amazon but could not Since Google and Amazon are arch enemies.

Wondering if you could get it from any store around you? I'll pay back as soon asap. Kindly let me know if you can handle this.

- Jane

Jane -

I'm so sorry about your broken foot (or is it leg?) bone and required surgery!  
I can look for a Google play gift card at the CVS and Giant near me when I go out in about an hour.  
How much would you like on the card (if there is a choice)?  
Can I mail it to you or your niece?  Or drop it off at your house tomorrow?

- Mary

Mary -

Thank you very much. The amount needed is $200 Google play gift cards. They come with different denominations. Once you purchase the cards, I need you to scratch the back of the cards to reveal the pins, then take a snapshot of the back of the card showing the pin and have the photos attached in the email then send it to me.

- Jane

Luckily, Mary was suspicious and was able to reach Jane who confirmed that it was fake before she sent the codes of the gift cards.

Jane got help from a trusted computer technician to regain control of her email account. He found evidence that the hackers had made changes to where her email was being forwarded as well as changes to her email filing system.

Recommendations from the computer technician and AARP:

  1. If you are ever even slightly suspicious of an email or text you receive from a friend, listen to your intuition and immediately reach out to that person on a known email address or, preferably, a phone number to make sure they really sent you the message.
  2. If you have already responded and realize that you are corresponding with a hacker, STOP emailing them, delete their emails, and change your email password.
  3. Change your email address passwords every time you turn the clocks back.
  4. Use unique passwords for different accounts. If you are using the same password for your email and your Netflix account and your bank account and your DC Water account and then one of those gets hacked... the hackers can then get into ALL of your accounts.
  5. Turn on Two-Factor Verification (also known as "Dual Factor" or "Two Step" Verification) for your email account - This means that when you log in to your email account, the system will text you a code to enter to make sure it is really you logging in.
  6. Place a post-it over the camera on your computer so if the hackers get in they can't see you on the camera. 

These scams are really insidious because they prey on our human kindness and our wish to help out someone who we think we know. 

Member Jane Whitaker received an email from the same scam several months ago:

"I was talking to a friend in Ohio and we were both hit by a very good scam but didn’t bite. We got an email from a friend (not the same person) who was in a bind and needed a gift card emailed to them immediately. The reasons seemed okay.

In my case I had never heard of the kind of gift card desired and didn’t know where to buy it.  This scammer even said 'her' phone was out which seemed reasonable as my friend lives in the mountains.  The scammer made the mistake in my case of saying 'oh blimey' which rang alarm bells.

These scammers prey on our generosity to old friends.  I don’t know how they linked her to me as we haven’t conversed since the beginning of the virus.

If anyone asks for gift cards due to an emergency one should not respond. This is a very good scam as it purportedly comes from someone you know and plays on your friendship to get you to bite. The email address was almost the same, just a couple of letters different.

Our generation does not email gift cards and that should be an ample red flag. If in doubt offer to send a check after talking to them."

Recovering from a hack:

Reporting a fake email address: