Know the signs of an email scam

Each year, well-intentioned Americans report losing billions of dollars to email scams. Some blame naivety or just plain ignorance, but the reality is that while computer users are warned to look out for scams, most never learn what to look for to identify the difference between legitimate email and something malicious. Here are some easy to spot warning signs that the message in your inbox should be erased.

In the Message Header

The message header of an email contains information regarding where the message is coming from, where it is going, and other qualifying information such as it’s total file size and timezone. Scammers know how to manipulate this information, but a keen eye can often detect signs of a scam. Pay close attention to the email address. The scammer may try to use a familiar name sent from an unfamiliar email address as a way to  avoid detection. Also, pay attention to the top level domain (the part that comes after the @ sign). This will help you understand where the email originated. If it ends in something other than .com, .net, .org, etc., then it may have come from outside of the U.S. Unless you were expecting international correspondence, this may indicate that the email is a scam.

In the Message Body

Many scam emails are pre-written and sent out to thousands of recipients in the hopes that some of them will reply to the scam and initiate further contact. If you receive an email that does not address you specifically, you should be wary of the sender’s intentions. Many email scams will share a personal story of loss or hardship and beg for your assistance. Never click on links in the email as they may lead to imitation websites that attempt to steal your passwords, and other information. Finally, many scams originate in countries that do not have native English language speakers. If the message sent to you reads like an awkward translation, then it probably is. Delete it immediately.

In the Message Signature

The final section of a typical email contains the sender’s name and credentials. An easy way to determine the legitimacy of an email is to do a quick web search of the message signature. There are many websites that collect and archive scam email campaigns; chances are, the message signature on the email in question will likely be contained on these websites.

The best way to avoid exposure to an email scam is to avoid spam email in the first place. Global IP Networks offers a range of services to assist your business in establishing and maintaining a network infrastructure that will not only be productive but also protect you and your employees from online attacks. Contact us today to learn about our server hosting and data center solutions. Our consultants are ready to help you address the unique needs of your business.

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