Not every fake e-mail is as obvious as those telling you that you won the lottery in a foreign country and that they need a small fee upfront for currency exchange. Spotting the difference between legitimate and fake e-mails is getting more difficult as criminals become more sophisticated in their efforts. We have included a few signs below to help you determine if the e-mail you received may be spoofed:
- Don’t open e-mails with attachments or links from people you do not know. These types of e-mails are often vehicles for malicious software.
- Examine e-mail addresses closely. Fake e-mails often use e-mail addresses with similar-sounding titles but from fictitious e-mail boxes. Quite often, a fake e-mail address will include signs, symbols, or strings of letters.
- Don’t respond to e-mails with deadlines, or those marked “urgent,” as they are often fake e-mails. The need to respond to a “limited time” offer, or a request to respond to avoid penalties, are often signs that the e-mail is not legitimate.
- Watch out for poor grammar – it is often a telltale sign of a fake e-mail. Many e-mail scams originate in foreign countries, which means the author of the e-mail doesn’t speak or write English fluently.
- Watch out for official-looking e-mail addresses that end with free e-mail services, such as support@gmail, cardservices@hotmail, or technicalsupport@yahoo. A quick glance may make you think it is a real e-mail, but it is not. Scammers use this approach because they know people are used to being contacted with similar e-mail addresses from trusted companies.