Fake Emails – also known as Scam Emails or Phishing Emails – are one of the major threats in the digital world we live. These emails, targeted as random or deliberate users, are used to spread malware, steal your personal information and other fraudster activities.
The problem here is that most people cannot tell apart an actual email message and a fake email. Nevertheless, the task is simple, if you know the major signs that you should look for. And, if you can tell them apart, you can lead a secure, privacy-friendly digital life. In this article, we will tell you how you can identify a fake/scam/phishing email easily. These are some general sets of guidelines that are applicable for most types of phishing email attacks. So, keep them in mind when you receive the next email asking for your bank account password or something 😉
Check Where It’s From
This is the first step to understand the genuineness of an email message. It’s to be noted that banks will not send you an email message for knowing your login credentials – they don’t have to, either. So, when you’ve received such an email message, you should check the sender details. If you are using Gmail, you can find it just below the subject line.
First of all, make sure that you have received an encrypted email message; then, check the URL of source domain name. This way, you can understand who is behind the email — your bank or a hacker.
Find If the Email is Asking for Personal Information
As we mentioned in the case of banks, web services don’t request you to send the account details or a user-password combination. It’s also unusual if you are asked to provide the Credit Card details or something else that is confidential and private. Alternatively, a scam email may also ask you to provide your answers for the Security Questions you have selected. All these are popular methods for stealing your account and accessing them. Even with the least amount of generalization, one thing is sure: web services won’t ask for any of the confidential information.
Check if There’s a General Salutation
In most cases, scam emails are not sent to individuals. Instead, the hacker will have a huge list of email IDs, to be targeted. As a result, phishing emails and fake emails will mostly have a general salutation. You would spot ‘Dear Valued Customer’ or just ‘Sir/Madam’. This is not the case when there’s a confidential thing to be discussed. In 99% of genuine email messages, you can find a dedicated salutation, using your provided name, account number or the username. If you don’t find that personal element, you can doubt it for a phishing or fake email.
Beware If There’s an Urgent Call to Action
We have seen and gone through many fake and phishing emails and all of them have this common point of notice: all of them had some urgent tasks to be done. For instance, banking-related spam emails had a usual message that ‘Your Account Has Been Hacked’ or ‘Your Account is in Trouble’. Similarly, if the messages were seemingly from a digital service, there were messages like ‘Click Here to Restore your Account’ and ‘Reset the Password Now’. Obviously, these texts will make almost all users click on the link and become a prey to those phishing attacks.
Think Before You Click
People have a common tendency to click on most fake emails and phishing emails. This is a step that should be strictly disallowed in any circumstance. Before clicking on anything, you should analyze the email with a thorough set of methods. For instance, you can look for grammar errors and all. Genuine emails will never have grammatical errors or syntax issues, if it’s talking about a confidential content. Also, you should check the professional look of the message, before clicking. This tip will surely help you get rid of most scam mails.
No One Gives You Free Money
For one, there aren’t any online lotteries that you can be a part of, without you knowing. Also, most people are not that generous to give you money for transferring stuff to your country or anything. These things must be an integral part of your digital literacy and should be followed while checking emails as well. Don’t ever reply to an email that tells you that you have won $1000000 of Online Lottery. If you do that, you’re marking yourself as a viable prey, who would be targeted afterwards. So, as much as possible, use your senses and stop replying for these messages.
The Landing Pages Looks Suspicious
This happens in the case of phishing emails as well as other fake stuff. Landing pages — which may look like your actual internet-banking webpage or the Facebook login page — may have something suspicious in the design and content. Sometimes, you will find annoying pop-up messages, whereas other pages can be filled with Ads. What happens is that, if you are driven by that urgent Call to Action, you usually forget about this thing and get moving. This should be avoided, and you must cross-check the URL and page content before you provide credentials.
Also Read: Virus Attacks via Email and How to Avoid Them
So, the abovementioned factors are common for most of fake/scam emails. It needs to be noted that these emails are used for phishing as well as other needs. For instance, some emails may have some unknown set of attachments, of unusual extensions and executable ones. Similarly, following the links, you may get some serious adware or malware in your PC. At the end of the day, your extra seconds for detecting an email will save you from a lot of troubles for sure.
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