How to Avoid Email Scams

Cybercriminals are notorious for taking advantage of holidays and major events to scam the public. It didn’t take long for scammers to try to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some scam emails appear to be from WHO or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; others appear to be from nonprofits raising funds.

You can protect yourself and your loved ones if you know what to look out for to avoid getting scammed.

Three Things To Watch For

How can you separate the legitimate emails from the scams? Here are a few things to watch out for:

1. Spoofing:

The email might look like it’s from an organization you know and trust, except for:

2. Asking for Information:

They ask you to provide your bank information or a copy of your drivers license, or they ask you to reply with your credit card number. Never provide financial information via email. A legitimate organization would never ask you for financial information via email.

3. Lack of Professionalism:

Misspellings, typos and bad grammar should trigger your mistrust.

Was It From The Foundation?

Unfortunately, some nonprofits, including The San Diego Foundation, have been the target of such phishing schemes. In a recent scam, people received messages via Facebook telling them that they were the recipient of $890,000, complete with an official-looking certificate that used a doctored version of The San Diego Foundation logo:

Fake official-looking certificate showing a logo with "Diego Foundation"
Sample of a scam “Certificate of Payment” from “Diego Foundation”

Scammers have also sent messages from email addresses ending with “” and “,“ claiming that the recipient has been awarded large sums of money.

What You Can Expect From Us

Coronavirus-Related Scam Resources

What To Do If You Suspect a Scam

What To Do If You Responded To a Scam

If you or someone you know has responded to one of these scams, please report it right away to the FTC at

If you have shared personal information, keep an eye out for potential identity theft. Signs of identity theft include:

If you suspect someone is using your personal information, report it at

If you believe money has been stolen from you, report it to your local police department.

If you have been scammed by an organization pretending to be The San Diego Foundation, please contact us to let us know, so we can take action.

Research Charitable Organizations via MyTSDF

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