It is easy to spot a spam message when the sender is a complete stranger asking you for money or informing you that you have won “mega millions” in a draw you never entered and that all you need to do is send in your personal information to verify your identity and claim your prize. But how can you tell the difference between such a blatantly obvious spam message and a disturbing message that a friend appears to have sent asking for money?
One of the first signs of a hacked e-mail or social networking account is when friends start calling up to let you know they cannot afford to lend you any money or if they are concerned that you are still stuck in Spain waiting to hear back from the embassy about emergency travel documents. It is puzzling to receive such bizarre phone calls when you have not been responsible for sending out such messages asking for financial support.
Look for Clues in the Message
Before you take any further action, look for clues within the message. The grammar, syntax and form of address are often an obvious giveaway when you are reading a spam message, rather than a legitimate message from a friend. Many spam messages are overly formal and end with “Sincerely” instead of “Talk to you soon”. If the grammar, syntax and form of address do not seem to fit your friend’s personality, then there is a strong possibility that your friend’s e-mail or social networking site has been hacked into.
Does the Request Seem in Character or Not?
Spam messages that are sent from a friend are disturbing because the natural inclination is to help out a friend who is in genuine need. However, do the contents of the message reflect your friend’s real character? For example, does your friend regularly ask for money? Has this kind of thing happened before?
Contact Your Friend
When you receive a spam message from your friend’s e-mail or social networking account, contact your friend (not through the account that was hacked into) to let them know what has happened. In all likelihood, they will be unaware of what has taken place until they receive a flood of phone calls from concerned friends and family members who have also received the same spam message.
Spam messages sent from a friend’s e-mail or social networking account are a clear indication of a hacked account. Look for clues within the message. These are often easy to spot and will help you see that this is not really your friend trying to make contact. Another point to bear in mind is whether the request for money is in character or not. Most likely, it is out of character. Finally, contact your friend by phone or some means other than via the hacked account to inform them of what has taken place so that they can take appropriate action.