Sometimes scam and spam are obviously fake and sometimes its hard to spot.
Here’s a few rules that can help.
- If you don’t know the sender then be cautious before opening the message.
- If the subject line and contents do not match then it’s designed just to get you to open the message – so don’t.
- The email may appear to be from someone official (e.g. Google Administrator) but if the actual email address shows something very different (e.g. Fred4561528hotmail.com) then its fake.
- If it contains deliberate misspellings (for example ‘watches spelt w@tches) this is intended to foolspam filters and means that it is spam
- If the message makes an offer that seems too good to be true – it’s probably fake.
- If the message contains an urgent offer end date (for example “Offer ends today”) This is intended to get you to purchase without taking the time to think it through. Legitimate sellers also use this tactic of course.
- If the message contains a warning about a computer virus then it is almost certainly fake and likely to contain a virus.
- If the message has a request to forward it to multiple people, and even offer money for doing so then it’s fake.
- Scam and spam messages often contain attached files that are .zip or .exe or .php files – do not open any of these.
You learn by experience which messages are scam or spam. Be vigilant – don’t fall for their tricks.