Scam and spam emails may display some of the following characteristics:
Sender’s Email Address
The sender’s email address will display as whatever the sender wants it to e.g. Santander Accounts Department, but the actual email address is usually also available, depending on which email client you are using. It may be that you can right click on the address and see properties which will tell you the actual email address or maybe if you print the email then it will show.
If the actual email address doesn’t match the name then you probably have a scam message, especially if the actual email address is something like a Hotmail or Gmail account rather than a business email address.
If the sender’s email address doesn’t tally with the trusted organisation’s website address, then the message is a scam or spam.
Recipient’s Email Address
Scam emails are usually sent to out to large numbers of people so it will probably be addressed to either “Undisclosed recipients” or to the senders name. This can be a sign of a scam or spam email.
If the email does not use your proper name, but uses a non-specific greeting like “dear customer” that can mean scam or spam.
Emails from people you know will usually have a meaningful subject whereas emails from scammers and spammers have a subject designed to make you open the message. E.g. Fountain of Youth drink.
A scam or spam email will focus on getting you to click on a link. If you hover the cursor over the link you’ll be able to see where the link would take you and it’s very often somewhere different to where it says. E.g. the link says ‘Satander Accounts’ but the actual link is to some meaningless URL you don’t recognise. Even a one character difference between what is says and the actual link can prove it’s a scam e.g. the link says barclaysbank.co.uk but the link is actually to barclaybank.co.uk which will be a scam site.
Sometimes, scam and spam emails have grammatical errors or are just badly written and often they impose a sense of urgency (you must act now to save your account).
If the content of the message is a picture rather than text – this can mean scam or spam.
Be vigilant over all emails and don’t be caught out.