Signs That an Email Is Fraudulent
In the modern world, we cant live without email. But sadly, it has become a tool for cybercriminals that we need to be ever on our guard against.
There are a number of ways to spot a fraudulent email. Train yourself to not take emails for granted by looking at the points listed below.
1. The “From” Address
This should be from a site you recognize, and not a free site like Yahoo or Gmail. Hit reply to email the sender back and see what happens. If it bounces, it is in violation of CAN-SPAM email regulations that require each emailer to have a viable return email address.
2. Is the Greeting Strange?
Does it read as though it was written by a native speaker of English? Is it personalized, or just a hi? Most legitimate online marketers will use personalization.
3. Are There Obvious Misspellings?
Check the From field, subject line, greeting, and opening paragraph. If there are errors, chances are the email is from overseas and could be a scam.
4. Is There Contact Information at the Bottom of the Email?
A full, legitimate mailing address is also required under the CAN-SPAM laws.
5. Are Dates in the Email Recent?
Some scams will get run over and over again and may have an old back date.
6. Is the Brand or Company Name Spelled Correctly?
Misspellings of either of these are a strong sign that the email is a scam.
7. Does the Link URL Included in the Email Look Right?
Scam emails will want to send you over to a URL to get phished or infected with malware and so on. If it is not a URL you are familiar with or it is misspelled, dont click.
8. Does the Link Take You to a Legitimate-Looking Page?
Spoof emails regarding banking and PayPal are all too common, as cyberthieves try to steal your security information and access your hard-earned cash. If the site looks odd in any way, click out. Also make sure the URL has https:// in front, which shows a higher level of security that most phishing sites wont have.
9. Beware of Images
A lot of malicious code is snuck onto computers through images in emails. Set your email client such as Outlook to suppress the images in an email. Only view images from a trusted source.
10. Never Open an Attachment
This is another way cybercriminals try to sneak malicious items onto your computer.
11. Keep Your Antivirus Software Up to Date
Get a reliable program like Norton 360 or McAfee. If you have Kaspersky on your computer, delete it and get Norton or McAfee. Kaspersky is known for having multiple security issues. Once you have Norton or McAfee installed, take the time to upload all the updates and schedule the program to update itself automatically so you are always covered against the latest threats.
12. Asking for Too Much Information
No bank or financial institution like PayPal will ever ask for personal details such as your password, social security number, and so on.
13. Bad Presentation
If the email looks ragged and unprofessional, it is probably spam or a phishing email.
14. Phony “Official” Language
Some emails will try to make it seem as if they are important and come from some sort of official body in order to try to intimidate you into taking the action they are insisting upon in the email. Most legitimate government entities will not be sending you email.
15. Time-Sensitive Emails
Emails that try to push you into taking action quickly for fear of some consequences when the time runs out will also usually be scams to try to bully you into doing something foolish.
If you suspect you have a scam email, report it here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing