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How to spot fake / scam emails

Monday, May 8, 2017

Email ScamsSometimes you can get an 'official' looking email in your inbox from a company you do business with. Such as Paypal, or your Bank or Credit Card Company. They have the official logo and use colors that you are used to seeing in their emails. But how do you know if it's fake, or real?

Hint #1: The From Email

Check to see who the email was sent from. If it's not the usual email used by your company, then it could be from someone trying to get your personal details.

For example, the emails I receive from paypal will come from emails containing: @mail.paypal.ca or @intl.paypal.com

Hint #2: Spelling Errors

Many spam emails will put in spelling errors to try and get around spam blockers. When spam blockers catch on, the spelling errors will change.

Sometimes your company may miss a typo, such as spelling "the" like "teh", but if there are glaring spelling errors throughout the email, it's most likely fake.

Hint #3: Link URL is Fishy

Usually there is a "Click Here" link in the email. If you hover over the link with the mouse, but not click on it, then at the very bottom of the email browser you will see what link it will take you to. Make sure that this is going to the real website for the company and not some strange url. Often that link will then redirect you somewhere else.

Hint #4: The To Email is Wrong

I have a few different emails that I use on a day to day business. A work email, a personal email and another one left over from years ago that i use sometimes to sign up for newsletters. Some companies will ask for your email so they can send you news updates, offers or even notifications. Make sure that the email account that the email came in on, is the actual email given to the company.

In the example below, the email came in on my work email, however I do not use that for paypal.

Other things to look for are generic greetings, such as "Dear Client" or "Dear <youremail>"

If in doubt, do not click on the link. Contact the company through phone or email found on their real website to ask about it. If you are sure it's spam, mark it as junk, that will help these emails be separated into your spam folder later on.

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