Have you ever received an email that looked like it was from your bank, only to realize something wasn’t right? I’m sure we all have. This is why you should check the email address of the sender, maybe it is a scam after all.
Here are our 12 handpicked ways to identify spam or fake email:
1. The email address doesn’t match the company’s domain name – This is the easiest way to spot a fake email address. If the email address doesn’t match the company’s domain name, it’s likely that it’s fake.
2. The email address contains strange characters – Fake email addresses often contain strange characters, such as numbers in place of letters or extra symbols, such as ‘@,’ ‘,’ or ‘!.’
3. The email address is from a free email service – Many fake email addresses come from free email services, such as Gmail or Yahoo. While these services are great for one’s personal use, they can give people the ability to set up email addresses that might not be what they appear.
4. The display name is generic – A generic display name, such as “Sales Team” or “Customer Service,” is often a sign of a fake email address.
Some examples include:
Exhibit A – email@example.com
Exhibit B – firstname.lastname@example.org
These are clearly not personal names, but rather generic words like “sales” and “service.” The domain name is generic – A generic domain name is also a sign of an abusive email address.
5. The message is full of grammatical errors – Fake email addresses are often associated with poor grammar and spelling mistakes.
Consider the following scenario: you receive an email from a business contact you work with and the email is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. Where do you think the email address came from? Chances are, it’s bogus.
6. The message is impersonal – Phishing emails will often be impersonal or not directed at you personally. They ask for information about your company, it’s services and assets, or for you to update your contact information – but don’t specifically mention your name. A personal email will usually address you by your first name and last name.
For example, a customer service email from a bank called “Dear Valued Customer” is probably fake.
7. The message contains threats or demands – Be wary of any message that contains threats or demands, as these are common tactics used by scammers and fraudsters.
8. You don’t know the person who sent the message – If you don’t know the person who sent the message, be suspicious. It’s possible that they’re pretending to be someone they’re not.
9. The message comes from an unrecognizable email address – If you don’t recognize the email address, be careful about opening the message or clicking on any links inside it.
10. You were expecting an attachment but there wasn’t one – Fake messages often contain attachments that can infect your computer with malware or viruses. If you were expecting an attachment but didn’t receive one, beware.
11. The subject line is vague or doesn’t make sense – A vague or nonsensical subject line is often a sign of a fake message.
12. The link in the message doesn’t match the link’s text – Be careful about clicking on links in messages, even if they look legitimate at first glance. Scammers will sometimes change the URL of a link to redirect you to a malicious website instead of the one they claim to be linking to. To check if a link is safe, hover over it with your mouse cursor and look at the URL that appears in the bottom-left corner of your screen; if it doesn’t match the text of the link, don’t click it!