Email servers have gotten pretty advanced. They get better and better about filtering spam. But when a suspicious email gets through, how do you know if it's real or fake? It can be difficult to determine, especially if they seem to have personal information about you. But don't let that fool you; as email servers advance, spammers have to find new ways to get around the filters. Fake email address generators, fake email generators, and temporary email addresses all help hackers and make it more difficult to avoid spam emails.
For example, let's examine a sample email caught in my spam box. Had it not been caught, here's what I look at to decipher.
What is the subject of the email?
In this case, 'hi there' could mean an individual in need of support or emailing with a general question. It's difficult to determine exactly what the person is after from such a vague line.
Does the 'From' address match the name of the signature?
With this email, you can see that the email appears to be sent from Elena, but the email address is [email protected] This is an immediate red flag; for one, the names don't line up, and it also appears to be a throwaway, or disposable, email address.
What does the body of the email contain?
It appears to be a note from a woman seeking to know more about me. However, note that the person is asking me to send emails in response to another address: [email protected] This is another red flag, as it doesn't match the 'From' address.
Other red flags for fake email
It's critical to remember that, when dealing with the Internet, if something appears too good to be true, it likely is. I receive emails informing me that I have relatives who passed away that I never knew and, how lucky - they were wealthy beyond belief, and I only must reply to claim my fortune. In reality, this is highly unlikely, and thus, highly suspicious. Listen to your gut when it comes to scams.
For emails such as the above, deleting them is the best option. Replying or unsubscribing allows the sender to know you are active on your email address. They may attempt to reach you through other means. You also run the risk of having your email address sold to other scammers if it appears to be active.
If you absolutely must take it a step further, you can learn how to trace an email on our site by using our email header analyzer tool.