How to Spot EMail Scams

Email spamming and scamming is becoming a huge problem as more and more sources try to lure you in with false emails and links. Anything from promising free goods, to gift vouchers, pleas for help, warnings that your password has expired, or that your account has been compromised; the list goes on. Here are a few tips for spotting these fake emails.

Let’s take an example of a very common one as of today, the Amazon Voucher scam. On the face of it and with a quick glance it does look like an Amazon email but look closer;

email-scam

Many of the tell-tale signs of a scam are evident in this email.

  • Poor grammar
  • Personalisation in the subject line
  • A link to click on requesting information or login
  • More poor grammar – 90% really do have multiple errors
  • A sender email address that doesn’t match the company logo

The purpose of this email is to get you to click on the Complete Registration link and you will then be prompted to enter your Amazon login details – if you do then they’ve got you. Not only your Amazon details but also your login and password, not good for those of you that use the same password for separate sources.

Let’s dig a little deeper. Let’s assume none of the other signs were there, how else can we tell this is a scam?

email-scam-02

If you are using an email application, such as Windows Live Mail or Outlook, by putting your mouse cursor on the blue Complete Registration text the actual (real) link that this will connect you to if clicked pops up. As you can see in this example this is definitely not an Amazon link. Would you intentionally connect to a link with all that rubbish in the address? Of course not but this is exactly what happens if you click on that link.

This also applies to email scams that include an attachment. The principle is the same. Check out that attachment and never open it unless you are 100% sure of the source and expecting it.

Now after sharing these tips with you I’m going to negate all this and basically say that none of this really matters. Email has become such a target for scammers and criminals that my actual advice is to NEVER open a mail containing a link such as this, even if it looks perfect.

If Amazon really had a voucher for you then by logging in to your Amazon account via your usual browser, you would see if there was any communication pending. This is true of almost any large modern organisation. Use your account logins to check the status of your accounts and communications, never rely on email prompts.

Taff Lovesey
www.litespc.co.uk
www.weblites.co.uk
www.lovesey.net

About taffybach

Author of the young adult fantasy novel series, The Portal Chronicles, including The Spider Gem and The Shimmering Gate. When not writing and promoting Taff runs a small IT support company, LITES PC based in Bourne UK.
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