Who likes to receive doggy email from someone we never have heard of? It happens…
At Clearout.io we are commonly asked how do we know if the email is fake or not? This is our jam to verify emails at scale. With this guide, we will help anyone to get smarter and better at spotting fake emails.
An email has become one of the ways to scam people: phishing, identity theft, etc. With just a few clicks, you can quickly find yourself in deep trouble and even lose a lot of money. We must be wary and above all NEVER give our details on a site sent as a hyperlink in an email.
On your personal inbox or on your business inbox there is a chance to receive fake email and get over-excited. Let’s get smarter and try to avoid these scammers.
We will cover a few tips on how to spot fake emails.
There is always a very credible source cited in the fake email. It is an important, influential, or credible person who sends it. For you to believe it, its title and fake contact details are often there, but only very rarely is there a link directing to a website or person linked in for more information.
Speed of action
Fake email senders always answer the email quickly. They commonly encourage you to click on the included link as quickly as possible; you are urged to act immediately by almost giving you an order.
Uppercase letters and bright colors
Fake emails stand out with overuse of capital letters, colors, and a voice that is just not natural. Sentences are written in capital letters or large letters and the email is often in a strong color (red). Yes! And we often find many exclamation marks.
Message of fear
Most commonly the fake email includes: If you do nothing, you are told that dramatic consequences will occur in your life or that your computer will destroy itself within the next few seconds, causing you to lose all the data on it.
Don't panic, it is just a trick these senders try to use.
Often, you are threatened to close your account if you do not provide your personal information (password, credit card number, etc.). Be aware that a business NEVER communicates this way with its customers.
Invitation to share
Fake emails stand out for their ask to share the content or your personal details. Don't fall for it! You have to tell it to everyone you know, you have to repeat it, send the email to your entire contact list, etc.
How to stay safe?
Protect your computer
Protect your computer with a good antivirus and other protection software like a VPN and a password manager.
Get anti-spam protection. This kind of service automatically checks your messages using artificial intelligence or robots, detects unwanted messages, and throws them in the trash before they reach your inbox. You or a member of your family are therefore less likely to accidentally open one.
Use a messaging service that encrypts your messages and secures their content in addition to offering enhanced security features. Always take the time to update your programs and install security patches, when available.
A firewall provides additional protection against hacking and protects your personal information.
Never browse the Internet from a computer that is not protected against spam and viruses and does not have a firewall.
Always check the source
Never open email attachments unless you expect one from a trusted person. A spammer can take over a personal or business email account (a process called “spoofing”) to transmit a virus to your computer.
If you have any suspicion about an attachment, check with the sender where it came from before opening it.
Protect your email address
Use separate email addresses for your different online activities. For example, create one that you will use for your personal contacts and another for your other activities (contests, newsletters, etc.). This will make your home address less likely to be inundated with spam, and you will have much less trouble deleting the box in which you receive spam emails.
Choose a complex email address. For example, if it is made up of a combination of letters and numbers, it will be more difficult for spammers to find it by using software that randomly combined first and last names.
Don't publish your email address everywhere. There are search bots that scour the web for the sole purpose of finding email addresses in order to add them to their spamming lists.
What to do with fake emails?
Don't open and delete them
It is normally not dangerous as such to open a fraudulent email, provided you do not reply to it, download attachments or click on links. The best way to protect yourself from these emails, however, is to not read them and send them directly to your Trash.
Do not click on links
Never visit websites advertised in spam, and never purchase the advertised product or service. If you have any suspicions, call the company concerned to verify if the email is legitimate and visit their site through your web browser and not through the link in said email.
Often, the link in the email will direct you to a bogus site that mimics the real website. Also, do not click the link to unsubscribe from the email in question; rather, it will confirm that your address is indeed active and you will receive even more spam.
Cybercriminals always try to exploit your gullibility or abuse your trust in certain people. Often they also try to take advantage of the fear. Don't be fooled.
Is it a fake email?
If the email rise doubts you must run it through these few questions:
Is it unexpected?
You receive a message from this correspondent for no reason; you haven't bought anything, you haven't had any contacts for a long time, etc. This is a valid reason to be vigilant and verify the authenticity of the message.
Keep your cool; have you really received the first demand for payment? Do you really know this so-called "friend in trouble"?
Do you know the sender?
Check the email address, see if it contains spelling mistakes. But beware, a legitimate e-mail address still does not offer any guarantees as to the veracity of the e-mail.
Does the question put to you seem strange?
An official body will never ask you to send by email, SMS, or telephone your password, your bank details, or your personal data.
Where does the link you are encouraged to click lead to?
Place your cursor over the link without clicking. Does the domain name, that is, the word before .be, .com, .eu, .org and the first slash “/”, really match the name of the organization?
Is the email addressed to you personally?
It is best to be wary of messages with vague general titles or where the title is your email address.
Does the message contain a lot of spelling or grammar errors?
Even if smart cybercriminals try to use correct language, mistakes or the use of a foreign language can be a sign of a suspicious message.
Is the message in your Spam / Junk / Junk folder?
If so, be especially careful. You can mark a suspicious message yourself as "Spam" or "Junk" or "Junk" and thereby alert other users.
Is anyone trying to arouse your curiosity?
By receiving messages including a link titled "Look what I read about you ..." or "Is it you in this photo?" It is natural to be curious. But do not fall for the trap.
Tips to prepare yourself for fake emails
To avoid falling into the trap of fake emails and avoiding scams, there are some simple tips to learn how to spot them. Here's how.
Do not open junk mail
Email software flags potentially dangerous emails. These messages, as well as some advertising emails, are placed in quarantine before you open them. They appear in the spam folder. The titles of these risky emails are displayed in red and a small icon indicates that this is a phishing attempt. Delete these messages without hesitation.
Check the domain name
If an email looks suspicious to you, check the sender's address. A real bank or EDF will not use a Hotmail or Gmail address. If the doubt is not resolved, click on the link in the message to go to the phishing site. Observe the browser's address bar. The deception can appear clearly ( www.carreffour.com instead of www.carrefour.com ) or in a more subtle way (.biz or .net extension instead of .com or .fr).
Avoid sites that are not secure
The sites of banks and administrations are secure. Data is encrypted between your PC and its servers. When you are on such a site, the address has the prefix https: // (http: // for classic pages). If the content of the page is encrypted, a padlock is displayed in the address bar or in the status bar of the browser. Never share information on an unsecured site.
Pay attention to the spelling
Can you imagine that your bank's home page could be riddled with spelling mistakes? Hackers, especially when operating from a foreign country, take liberties with French spelling and grammar. If the typos are numerous, the past participles hazardous and the accented letters replaced by strange characters, go your way, it is undoubtedly a scam. Rely on legal information:
If in doubt, take a look at the legal information (a website must indicate the contact details of a manager). Click on the Contacts and General Conditions links to verify that there is indeed a postal address in France. The data provided in these pages should match the site you think you are visiting (hackers rarely take great care in these details).
If you feel it is fake it is most likely fake. You can protect yourself with tips we gave you and you can always ask us or use our tool to discover the background of the email address.
Gints Gailis Growth hacker at Klint Marketing and ArchitectureQuote. Wizard when it comes to email outreach, marketing automation, and social media. In the past 4 years, Gints has been working with some of the most exciting and scaling startups in Denmark.
Gints has been running email campaigns for the past 4 years using clear out and various other tools. During his work, he has commonly come across fake emails. In this article, Gints will share his expertise on how everyone can spot and avoid fake emails with no hustle.
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