At some point, you will get scam emails landing in your inbox. Here are 10 ways to recognize them so you don’t fall prey to scams or phishing.
Scam Email Signs
Scam emails want you to feel an emotion. That emotion will make you do something without thinking. It might be clicking on a link, filling in a form or simply replying. Any of these actions mean that the scam has been successful. Watch your emotions when you go through your emails, any one of them could be a scam.
The Email Brings Really Good or Bad News
- Yellow Alert – “You’ve Won!”, “You need to respond now or …”.
- Most scam emails target your fear or greed so usually tell you of particularly bad or good news. Be careful.
You Don’t Know the Email Sender
- Yellow Alert – Any email you get from someone you don’t know needs a careful look. This applies to Phishing phone calls also.
You do Know the Sender, but it Looks Unusual
- Orange Alert – Some scams work by getting one person to click on a button and from there, they spread the scam to their friends and contacts.
- Here is an example I received recently from 2 friends of mine who obviously fell for a scam. I have changed the link, and I noticed that even though the email looked like it came from my friends’ emails, in fact it came from a different email address.
You do Know the Sender, but the Email Address is Looks Unusual
- Orange Alert: You can see from the below that the name and the sender domain do not match
- From: UpgradeReality [mailto:no-reply@support.XYZinternet.bs]
The Email Appears to be From a Bank, Financial Institution, Government Agency or is About Money.
- Email Scammers usually want money. This will change and their methods will become even trickier in the future, but the end goal is financial gain so watch for any emails relating to money.
The Email Contains a Link or a Button
- Orange Alert – Buttons and links can insert code onto your computer or confirm details of your software or browser. Almost all scam emails are intended to make you take action. Buttons and links are the most common way of achieving this.
The Email Sender is False
- Red Alert – Scam email. I recently got this email which at first looked like I need to react quickly, but was a scam
- The Scam Email Give Away: Take a close look at the sender address. It looks like it comes from paypal, but as you can see below, the “L is actually an “I”. I haven’t highlighted it-get good at spotting these.
There is a Clear and Urgent Call to Action (CTA)
- Orange Alert – Scam emails want you to do something fast. The call to action is how they do this.
- “Click below to confirm …”
- “Follow the link to collect …”
- Orange Alert – Scam emails often reference legitimate businesses or organisations to make them appear legitimate.
Not Addressed to You by Name
- Yellow Alert – Many scam emails won’t have your name. These are the easy to spot ones. Over the next few years, more and more scam emails will have your first and/or last name. This is because there is a continual effort on behalf of hackers and scammers to acquire data from companies, and so eventually, one of them will get your email address, name and most likely other details.
Signs of Multiple Countries
- Yellow Alert – Poor scammers often accidentally include signs from multiple countries. This is an easy one to pick up. Most people and businesses that you want to deal with are from a single country or know where their customers live. See the example below.
- Also watch for poor spelling or grammar – again, this won’t be the case with all email scams, but it is an easy give away.
Simple Scam Email Example
This example has lots of issues, but the one form paypal is much more subtle.
What to do with Scam Emails
Delete them. You might like to start educating your family and friends about them, but don’t forward them. At the end of the day, don’t waste your time on them. The large companies already know that they are out there and are fighting to stop them