5 Practical Ways to Spot an Email Scam

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The most valid reason why email scammers are still out there is because their tricks still fool thousands or even millions of people around the world. So as long as there are possible victims, the scammers thrive. This article shares five (5) practical tips on how to detect and avoid email scams.

How to detect email scams

The Common Purpose of an Email Scam

Why are hackers or the bad guys engaging in email scams? The main of the reason is to extort money. Others send out scam emails to distribute malwares that will make the hacker more money as well by malicious advertising and other illegal online activities.

5 Ways to Detect a Scam

A. The email from an unknown person contains attachment

Most of the known malwares are distributed through emails. Yes, through scam emails. When you are not careful and cautious enough, when you open the attachment, the malware gets activated and compromise your computer. In some case, it will install a scareware that threatens you that your computer is infected and in order to cleanup the system, you need to buy their software from their site. This is highly regarded as a high-tech extortion.

If you got an email from an unknown or unexpected person that contains attachment, never open the attachment if your antivirus software is not updated. Better yet, never open the attachment at all.

B. The email contains "scamy" phrases

There are several red flags that will immediately alert you that the email you got is a scam. Here are some list of the red flag phases:

  1. "you won the lottery"
  2. "verify your account,"
  3. "you got money waiting"
  4. "you got an inheritance"
  5. "We are closing down, download your data"
  6. and many other "good to be true" offers

C. The email only contains a picture

Normal email messages contain "message" in a text form. That is the initial intent for emails. Other scam emails utilize beautiful images to make it appear professional and legitimate but clicking the image will bring you to a compromising website. If it is not a compromising site, you will be redirected to a website where the sender of the email (scammer) got money or credit for your viewing of the site. That is after all the purpose of the scam, to extort money.

D. Instant Wealth Promise

Making money is not an easy task. Even blogging takes time, effort and resources to make money over time -- legitimately. Therefore, if you see scam advertisements that will promise you a great amount of money without you doing anything (except of course buying their product or software), then start thinking. That is a great scam! Come to think of it, if their promise is true, why did they spend money to push their dirty advertisement if they are making money? The reason is simple - they are only getting money when you buy their advertised products and you will only get that advertised wealth when you copy what they do - spreading the scam!

E. The email contains clickable links

If you know the person sending the message, then you can trust that the link is legitimate. However, if you do not know the person who sent you the email, then do not click on those links since you might just be redirected to a compromising website.