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Avoiding Fake Emails

Ever since emails became a mainstream part of the Internet, the use of unscrupulous or fake emails to try and trick recipients have been a common threat, with varying degrees of annoyance or danger. However, being email aware can make recipients cautious about emails and avoid taking any unnecessary action.

From the early days of Nigerian email scams, which promised recipients untold wealth from surprising will gifts, emails have become more sophisticated and widely used by scammers, hackers and criminals to hide behind a fake profile and to tempt participants to part with money to do things they shouldn’t be doing.

In the search marketing field, these scams include marketing emails that supposedly come from an ‘expert’ who has viewed your website and want to scare you into taking action with them. These senders have rarely viewed your site and send the same warning message to thousands of recipients in the hope that a few will ‘bite’. They tend to come from Gmail or similar generic email addresses and have no indication of coming from a legitimate business, with no address or phone number details.

At a more serious level, emails that contain clickable links can lead you to fake websites and probably malware or viruses that can attack your computer and personal information. Many of these emails are cleverly designed to look like legitimate emails from companies and attract your attention and have to be treated with caution. Many emails systems – like Gmail – are pretty good at filtering out a lot of these scams, but some can get through (and sometimes real emails can be filtered incorrectly).

A few simple checks are worth taking with any emails that look unusual, such as:

  • Would you expect to be receiving this type of message?
  • Check the message headers, as the “from:” address and the “return-path” reference should reference the same source
  • Does the content of the email read correctly or contain typos?
  • If you hover over any links from the email, does the URL match the expected website you’d be connecting to, or an unusual address?

If in doubt, go directly to the website you would expect and login or signup there rather than via the email link. Also make sure you have virus software on your device and you regularly scan the device or run a malware check.

By being email smart and questioning anything that looks odd, should help to keep you safe and just delete the suspicious emails. If you’d like more information, please contact us for details.