How to Spot a Fake Email

March 27, 2019

You get an email from your bank or some other company you do business with. But you aren’t sure if the email is really from that company or if it’s fake. The name of this type of email is a Phish email. It can be hard to tell because the fake emails are often pretty good forgery’s.

So, in this article, we are going to try and educate you on how to tell if an email is fake or legit.

Here are some general rules to follow:

  • If there are a lot of spelling and/or grammatical errors in the email, it may be fake.
  • Does the email make sense? If not, it may be fake.
  • Does the email address you by name or is it generic? If it’s generic or addresses you by a name that you don’t use with that company, it may be fake.
  • Is the content of the email generic or specific. Generic emails may be fake.

In general, if you aren’t sure, assume it’s fake and don’t click on any links in the email or open any attachments. Go to the company’s real website manually they way you normally would instead of clicking on a possibly dangerous link in an email. Or call the company to see if it’s legit.

Now look at the example fake email below.

Look at the top where the yellow circle is. It’s says it’s from UPS View. But look at the email address. It’s not an email address on ups.com. In fact, it’s not even from this country. The fact that the email address ends in .ve says its’ from Venezuela. Red flag #1.

Notice how the email gives no name or address. It’s not specific. It’s general. Red flag #2.

It lists a shipment number which doesn’t make sense in this country because we call them tracking numbers. That’s red flag #3.

See how the shipping number is blue? That’ means it’s a link that I can click on. If I hold the mouse pointer over it, being careful not to accidentally click, then at the bottom of the email in the status line (yellow arrow is pointing to this) it shows where the link goes. Notice that the link does not go to ups.com. It goes to tdcind.com. Red flag #4.

How many red flags mean it’s a fake email? For me, it’s 1. My rule of thumb is that you should be suspicious of every email. Even if the email appears to be from someone you know. Even family. If there is even one red flag or if you just have a bad feeling, then assume the email is fake.

One Response to “How to Spot a Fake Email”

  1. Great article. I knew most of the ways to spot phishing, but you came up with a couple of new ones. Thank you.

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