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Former special agent says you can spot email scams

Live chat slated for Wednesday at 5 p.m.

If you've been flooded with email messages that somehow slip through your junk mail or spam computer defense chances are a professional thief used the right trick to beat the system.

[WEB EXTRA: Extended interview ]

Former Special agent Robert McClintock says the bogus email is always "designed to take your money and identity."

McClintock will be on ClickOrlando.com starting at 5 p.m. to answer any questions you have regarding spam or email impostors.

He spent 26 years tracking criminals for the U.S. Marshal's Office and the U.S. Housing Authority.

For McClintock, it was all about exposing fraud.

"They always give you enough truthful information to make you believe that the email is good," McClintock said.

McClintock says he averages half a dozen bogus emails every week.  He says he's been getting them for years and knows how to spot them.

McClintock says the most obvious scams are the emails that play to greed or sympathy.
Inheritance was the one word subject on McClintock's email the day we met with him.

Of course, he didn't inherit anything but he was told to email the messenger.

"If I email back they're going to say, oh we've got somebody on the hook."

Impersonal email greetings or the wrong spelling of your name are "tells" that the email is a fake.

McClintock has seen more sophisticated attacks known as "spear phishing" that include messages from EZ-Pass or the Social Security Office.

Those sorts of messages will have an urgent warning: You may lose your benefits unless you send your information to this link.

Other warning signs: Spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors or No signature or contact information.

McClintock says the thieves just need a few hits to make it worth the effort.

"You can actually take and send 1000 emails out with only one person in the to address," he said.