How to detect a fake, phishing or spam email
We all receive many emails every day, all the important emails land in the inbox and all the junk or phishing emails go to the junk or the spam folder directly.
But with the increasing hacking attempts and frauds, these scammers are sending emails that are designed in such a way that even the integrated security allows them to land in the inbox.
However, we can easily identify which email is a legitimate one and which is a fake one, let’s look at a few examples.
1. Masked senders email address
Every time we send an email it shows our first and last name rather than the email address. This is called masking
People create an email account with first and last names as’ Microsoft Support‘ or ‘Hotmail Support‘ or ‘Outlook Support‘ ‘MSN Support‘ etc.
In this case, every time they (spammers) will send an email it will reflect as their first and last name rather than the email address as shown in the image below.
If you click on the Name, you will see the sender’s email address which is not Microsoft or Outlook or any other reputed company.
If it is an email from Hotmail, Outlook or Microsoft it will always end as @microsoft.com rather than any other domain name.
So if you see any email where the name of the sender and the email address don’t match its a fake email.
2. Masked links in emails
Almost all the spam emails come with a link or attachment that we are supposed to click or download.
Whether the link is a legitimate one or not can be checked by hovering the cursor on it.
When you hover the cursor on any link or button in an email, on the left bottom corner you can see the preview of the link.
If the button and the link don’t sync together then it’s a fake link and a fake email.
As shown below, this is an email that pretends to be an email from amazon with few links like Your Orders, Your Account and Amazon.co.uk links and a button which is Login with Amazon.
If you hover the cursor on this button as we have done, at the button left corner (red rectangle) you can see the link has nothing to do with Amazon.
It’s a fake link that is designed to steal the information.
It may also contain spyware that could be designed to capture and steal your information from your computer.
DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK WHILE HOVERING YOUR MOUSE ON IT
Below is the example of HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) fake email
- Check for Name masking
- Link masking – fake link inserted
These kinds of email lure any person to click on the link or the attachment, after all, it says that you have received a refund from the department, who in the right sense won’t click on it.
But before you do, make sure you check the Name and Link mask to prevent any fraudulent activity.
3. Misspelled words, broken links or images
Broken images and misspelled words in an email is a sign of a fake email as shown in the example below.
Safety Tips – How to detect a fake email
- If by mistake you have clicked on the link or the attachment, change the password of your account immediately, and keep a track on the recent sign-in activity. To make it more secure create a recovery code
- Whenever you receive an email for any action login to the respective account by visiting the companies website like Amazon, Apple, PayPal, etc.
- If the e-mail requires immediate action, a good practice is to call the company directly and inquire whether or not the message is legitimate.
- One of the indications of a scam e-mail is poor spelling, grammar, or punctuation. E-mails coming from professional organizations and companies are highly unlikely to contain any of these mistakes.