Email scammers are getting increasingly better at looking official and tricking people into giving out their personal information. To learn how to check for a fraudulent emails, follow the steps below.
- Don’t Panic: A lot of time Scammers will try to create a sense of urgency in the emails they send you. Something along the lines of “click this link now or miss out on this great deal!” Don’t panic, it’s much better to miss out on a deal while checking the validation of the email than to be scammed.
- Check the “From” email address: Scammers may use an email address that looks genuine but look closely and it may appear to be sent from a bizzare email or the company name may be slightly wrong: kevin.jones@OfficalCompany.com (notice the missing “i” in official)
- Check the Greeting: Scammers are getting better at using your name in emails but some of them may still start with just “hi” or “hi (email address)” An official company will more than likely use your first name if not your full name when addressing you.
- Check contact Website and Dates: Official emails will normally end in a signature that includes links to websites or social media for the company. You should check to see if these open onto the correct web addresses. You can do this on your computer without even clicking on the link. Hover your mouse over the link and you will see the web address in the bottom left corner of your screen. You can then do a google search of the company and see if the web addresses match.
You could also check copyright or campaign dates. Often scammers will forget this detail and they may be incorrect or out of date.
- Check Branding: Scammers often pretend to be from large companies. Check the branding from the home page of that companies website, do they match the branding on the email? If the answer is no, be on your guard.
- Ignore Links and Attachments: As a general rule, don’t click on any external link or download any attachments if you aren’t sure the email is genuine. It could upload a virus to your computer and delete your files. Also as a general rule of thumb, make sure your anti virus software is up to date.
- Are they Asking for Personal Information?: If you receive an email out of the blue asking for personal information it is probably a scam. Most companies will not ask for this information via email but will get you to do it on the phone or via your account on their official website. If you are unsure either log into your account and see if you have the same message there or call the company directly using their website contact us page information and verify.
- Check for Inconsistency: While scammers have gotten better at correcting their spelling and grammar you should still check for these tell tale signs. You may also want to check general inconsistencies in the text, unnecessary repetition of information, irregular font sizes and a mismatch of logos.
- Double Check: If you still aren’t sure whether to trust the email or not, go to the companies official website and use their contact us page to ring the company directly. There is no harm in double checking and they will be happy to verify the email for you. The company is likely already aware of scammers who are using their name and may also have a list on the website of specific ones to look out for. If not, they may appreciate being notified of the scam so they can work to get rid of it.
Most websites will have a way to report a spoof email so if you think you are being scammed, let them know and always check outside of email that the email is real. Anyone can fall for a spam but by following the steps above and remaining vigilant, you could have a better chance of avoiding it.