When a Scam is not a Scam

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When a Scam is not a Scam: a reader asks…

I received an email supposedly from an insurance claims adjuster with an attached PDF. I haven’t opened it for fear that it’s infected. I don’t use that insurance company and have never had anything to do with them that I know of. I forwarded the email to you, can you please take a look and tell me if this is a scam (as I suspect)?

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I took a look, and the email did originate from the insurance company, all the links are valid, and the attached PDF is not infected. So I think that this isn’t a scam, although it does appear to be erroneously sent to you. The PDF lists both your name and another person with the same last name, although that’s nobody you know, and the location listed is someplace you’ve never been. The PDF talks about an auto insurance claim with one of their customers, ostensibly filed by that other person (with your last name) against their client.

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I believe this is a somewhat lazy insurance claims adjuster’s attempt to settle an old claim. They may have done an internet search to try to find the other party to an accident, and simply picked your email address because the last name matched. You can take either of these actions:

  1. Delete the email and go on with your life. There’s no repercussion and you have no liability, although you might get another email if the adjuster is persistent.
  2. You can send a courtesy reply to the adjuster and tell them that you have nothing to do with the claim and have no relation to the other person they listed on the PDF.

It’s not worth doing anything else. Just for fun, I did a simple lookup of that other person named in the claim and they really do exist, in the location specified in the PDF. The only connection between that person and you is the same last name. I also found a LinkedIn profile for the insurance adjuster, so that person appears real.

You were right to suspect the email. Pretty much any unsolicited or unexpected email communications these days is suspicious, unless you personally know the other party (and even then not always). Email scams are the majority of all email moving across the internet these days, so your best bet is to use email with a high degree of suspicion.

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