Spam email is something which we all receive, most days, and can’t really avoid or stop it. Determining what is and isn’t spam is sometimes difficult, so I’ve put together a very simple guide to help the non-spam spotters amongst you. Below explains what you can look at to make sure that you don’t interact with an email which isn’t legitimate.
- Name – Do you know this person?
- Email Address – Is the email address the same as the person who is sending the mail?
- Email Body – Does it make sense? Not everybody can write well, but this makes no sense.
- Clickable Link/Attachment – It’s asking you to click a link, if an unsolicited email is asking you to click a link or download a file that you’re not expecting then it’s likely a spam/virus email.
If you hover over a link it will pop up and show you the target – does this look legitimate to you? The below example is linking to what looks like a Russian site about Dieting and doesn’t reference the email anywhere.
You could receive an email from Joe Bloggs <firstname.lastname@example.org> saying you owe him £1000. He’s attached an invoice for you to view and a “secure” link to pay the bill.
My thought process is as follows:
- You can see that the name doesn’t match the email address which the email came from – Red Flag (Usually Joe Blogs would have his name in his business email, right? Question why Joe is sending from Alan’s address – sketchy.)
- The domain ends in something unfamiliar (.cn, .cz, .xyz). Should you be receiving an email from China? No. – Red Flag (If you’re dealing with somebody from China you’ll know their email address and it won’t be a random email)
- Do you owe somebody called Joe Bloggs £1000? – Probably not – Red Flag (By this point, you should know that this email is spam.)
- It has a file attachment – Red Flag (Are you expecting a file from somebody called Joe Bloggs? Is it an invoice for £1000? If not, why open it? – Curiosity killed the Computer).
- It has a link to pay Joe – Red Flag (Again, you don’t owe Joe any money so why would you click the link to pay him?)
If you are unsure about whether an its a spam email or not. Take a screen shot and send it to your IT department, its always better to be safe rather than sorry.
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