Emails are one of the globally used and common communication tools. The number of email accounts are over 1 billion, with some people owning multiple accounts. You share your email when you sign up to newsletters, create accounts with retailers and so much more. But sometimes, unfortunately, your email address can get into the wrong hands and you could end up with fraudulent emails that will try and get personal details from you, including your credit card details or passwords to specific sites and some of these can look pretty genuine; they’re purposely made like this to get as some much information out of you as possible.
It’s important to be able to identify a genuine email from a fake one. So in this blog, I walk you through some of the key things to look out for.
Check the senders’ email address
This is the biggest give away. Often the address will be quite long with a random mix of numbers and letters that make no real sense (email@example.com for example). If the email is from, lets say, Apple then you’re going to expect [something]@apple.com not random letters with a random domain name. See the image below for an email I recently received. ‘Win Pokemon coins’ and that too from Curry’s apparently. This one was too obvious, an established company like Curry’s would never be involved with something like this so I let it go straight into the junk folder.
Does the content have any spelling or grammar mistakes?
Genuine emails will always have the correct grammar and spelling (emails from friends and family can be an exception) but all professional emails will never have bad grammar. So if you receive an email with the body content looking anything like the one below then don’t even continue reading.
If the email address looks genuine and the spelling / grammar seems to be perfect too then you need to check the content of the email. You need to specifically look out for any that try and get information from you, such as “please verify your PayPal account urgently to prevent your account being closed”. Basically, be vary of any that ask you to disclose payment information or any private information as companies will never ask you to do this over email.
Don’t click any links! Check them first
A lot of fraudulent emails will most likely contain a link for you to click on and take some action. Don’t ever click a link unless you’ve checked it’s genuine. The best way to check, without clicking it, is by hovering over the text that holds the link. You should then see the the URL in the bottom-left of your browser window. Usually, a non-genuine URL will be quite long and make no sense, the domain will be rather random too. If you don’t recognise it, don’t click it. Here is an example: dmsa.apple.com-idmswebauth-classiclogin.htm.artXXia.es/XXXXXXX
Just because it has apple.com does not make it genuine. Look at the entire URL, it’s completely random. A genuine email would be made up with the follow sections, in the order I’ve put them in: http://www + domain name + forward slash (/) + page name e.g. http://www.apple.com/mac/
Don’t open attachments
If an email does not look genuine and it has attachments, please do not open them as they could be harmful and contain viruses. Attachments tend to be named randomly and contain some of these extensions: .exe, .msi, .bat, .hta, .js
Perform a Google Search
If you’re still not sure after checking the aforementioned then use Google to search the senders’ email address. This will help you find out if it is a genuine email or a potential fraudulent email.
I hope the blog has helped and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Thank you for reading.