- Internet & the Web
8 Ways to Easily Spot Spam
Welcome guest writer, Sarah Butland. Enjoy the article and learn more about her at the end of the article.
We All Have Spam
Fraudulent emails are filling everyone’s mailboxes daily and as much as we try to set up filters to catch it all several or more still somehow make it to our inbox or message centre at social media sites. Some can be extremely obvious, offering a lottery win, picture we certainly do not want to see or are marked by our email software as spam while others are a bit more misleading.
Spam emails, social media posts, and messages can imply they are of a personal nature – looking for a spouse or long lost family member – others are more specific demanding you take action immediately or risk fraudulent activity happening with your finances.
Even the most tech-savvy of us are guilty of falling for some of these emails so here are eight tips on how you can be confident deleting an email is the best thing to do.
#1 It’s a Promise of Money
To win a contest or lottery you must first participate in that lottery. If your email states that you have won something you don’t remember entering, it may seem disheartening to say farewell to such large winnings but please delete this email. In the unlikely event you did enter a lottery through that company call or visit the company’s website directly to check – never click on the link included in the email or reply to ask.
#2 Share on Social Media to Win
With social media so popular there are plenty of new ways scammers are trying to catch their prey and coupons or chances to win are popular ones. Winning a cruise or being rewarded with slightly damaged or overstocked high value items just isn’t something that’s so easily done. Yes, there are companies who are taking advantage of going viral with an opportunity to win a ticket to their show or sample of their product and these are legitimate. The spam ones are specific to ads you need to click on that take you to a site that doesn’t belong to the company directly- WaltDizney.com, for example, is not about to reward you with tickets to Disney. Always check spelling and if it seems too good to be true (everyone who shares a post or forwards an email won’t get a cash prize) it probably is.
#3 Emails Are Poorly Edited
If a business is going to send you an email offering you a new opportunity you can be sure they had several people looking at it before it was sent. They will be very certain words are spelled correctly and the grammar used is proper for your preferred language. If you are having difficulty reading it because it’s in all caps, littered with spelling errors or, goodness forbid, spells the company name wrong you can be sure it’s spam or a phishing email.
#4 There’s A Zipped Attachment
Emails from your friends with an attachment in PDF or .Doc formats are pretty safe, especially if you were expecting one. On the other hand, an email from a stranger with an attachment you’re asked to download or open for no good reason (or an enticing one) should immediately be deleted. If the email appears to be from someone you know but the file name or format looks unusual – better safe than sorry, just give them a call to ask. More times than not, if you’re not expecting something from them it means they’ve been hacked and their system is trying to hack you, too.
#5 Congratulations for Nothing!
If an email is congratulating you on an application you never completed – just delete! Though the world sometimes works in mysterious ways, it can’t reward you for doing something you never did.
#6 Your Package Couldn’t Be Delivered
A common one these days is a notification of an unsuccessful delivery attempt. If you don’t remember ordering anything using that delivery method please don’t click on the link within the email as there is nothing actually coming for you (except trouble if you do click the link). Although it would be a nice surprise to receive something unexpectedly, most companies would leave a notification at your door or give you a call to ask for directions if needed. If you are expecting something from that company, give them a call or chat with them online to ask about their practices when no one is home or, better yet, provide them a tracking number for an update.
#7 It’s Not Addressed To You
If you are a valued customer or client of a business they will know your name and use it, they will also spell it correctly. That very first line of an email can be all you need to know if you should delete it or not as if it’s from a well-known company and addressed generically it’s not from them!
#8 It’s From a Company You Have Never Dealt With
It can be easy to be alarmed when you receive an urgent request or threat of account closure even if you have never dealt with the company it’s purportedly coming from. This just means the spammer got a list of email address and hopes that at least one of the hundreds or thousands of people receiving their message do deal with that company, will click on the link and enter their details without a second though.
Be alert, stay protected and enjoy your emailing experience!
Sarah Butland was born in Ontario, the year was 1982. She now resides in Nova Scotia, Canada with her high school sweetheart and son.
The creator of BananaBoy and author of the Adventures Of Sammy series beginning with Sending You Sammy, her first published children's book, Butland dreams big and starts small. Brain Tales – Volume One and Arm Farm added to her in print collection of books among her blog (www.SarahButland.com), articles for magazines and many other forms of writing.