"It's always an urgent call to action [such as], 'We've lost your information,' or 'We regret to inform you your account needs to be updated and you'll be suspended if you don't act.' That's a sense of urgency, and they always want you to click on a link in the e-mail," Rob says.
Rob says that eBay and PayPal will never send you an e-mail asking for a password, personal information or an account update. "Most responsible companies won't do that. You don't communicate securely by e-mail because of these sorts of risks," Rob says. If a company does need to contact you for some reason, Rob says, it will get to you when you sign onto its own website.
"The key to remember in these sorts of situations [is] treat e-mails like strangers," Rob says. "Just as you wouldn't give this kind of information to a stranger who knocked on your door, look at an e-mail like this." He says if you do get a suspicious e-mail, do not click on any links and delete the message.