How To Tell If An Email Is Legit

How To Tell If An Email Is Fake Spoofed Or Spam

Email Links – 1 easy way to tell if an email is legit

Best way to check without clicking

So a friend recently told me that they got a verification email from Apple stating that a new email address had been added to their Apple ID. The person knew that they didnt add any email address and when they logged into their Apple account, no other email other than their own was showing up.

The friend wanted to know whether this was a phishing email or was it legitimate, but sent to them incorrectly by Apple? Well, it ended up being a fake email that was trying to get the user to click on a link so that they would enter their Apple ID credentials. Luckily, the friend didnt click the link, but instead opened his browser and typed in iCloud.com and logged in that way.

Even though this friend received a phishing email, not all verification emails are fake. In this article, Ill show you how you can tell whether the email is fake or not and the best practice for checking your account if youre not sure.

Check The From Address

Often you’ll find that fake emails that have a similar-looking from address to the original email addresses.

Another example is the way scammers type the name of reputed companies to scam the public. For example, they could misspell Microsoft using an ‘r’ and an ‘n’ to make it look like an ‘m’.

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Alternatively, scammers could use different blocks or spoofing software to show you the legit email address. In this case, it’s much harder to tell if the email is real or not. Telltale signs include any spelling mistakes in the email, or suspicious looking links.

Use A Free Email Service

This method is free. However, it is not a quick and entirely accurate method.

Use a free email address provider like Google or Yahoo. Send an email to the email address under question. Wait for a few minutes on in some cases, a few hours, the message will bounce if its a fake email address.

The problem with this method is that the message might bounce back after a long time, like a day or two, depending upon the server. Nevertheless, its free and does not require technical knowledge.

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The Domain Name Is Misspelt

Theres another clue hidden in domain names that provide a strong indication of phishing scams and it unfortunately complicates our previous clue.

The problem is that anyone can buy a domain name from a registrar. And although every domain name must be unique, there are plenty of ways to create addresses that are indistinguishable from the one thats being spoofed.

The Gimlet Media podcast Reply All demonstrated how difficult it can be to spot a spoofed domain in the episode What Kind Of Idiot Gets Phished?. Phia Bennin, the shows producer, hired an ethical hacker to phish various employees.

The hacker bought the domain gimletrnedia.com and impersonated Bennin.

His scam was so successful that he tricked the shows hosts, Gimlet Medias CEO and its president.

You dont need to fall victim to help criminal hackers

As Bennin went on to explain, you dont even need to fall victim for a criminal hacker to gain vital information.

In this scam, the ethical hacker, Daniel Boteanu, could see when the link was clicked, and in one example that it had been opened multiple times on different devices.

He reasoned that the targets curiosity kept bringing him back to the link but that he was suspicious enough not to follow its instructions.

Boteanu explains:

Boteanus theory is exactly what had happened. But why does that help the hacker? Bennin elaborates:

Therefore, in many ways, criminal hackers often still win even when youve thwarted their initial attempt.

Why Cybercriminals Send Fake Emails

DPD Email Scam Alert

Scammers are becoming smarter and more innovative with their email phishing techniques that even the most vigilant people become victims of email phishing scams.

Phishing emails are sent to:

  • Create a sense of urgency to get victims to engage with them.
  • Deliver malware to the victims computer via attachments or links.
  • Redirect victims to a malicious website or a website that looks the replica of a legit companys website.
  • Trick recipients into sharing their login credentials, financial, or other sensitive information.

Needless to say, its high time that you and your employees learn how to spot a fake email in order to protect yourself and your organization from email phishing scams.

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Email Contains Links Or Attachments Asking For Personal Information

The primary purpose of a fake email is to steal sensitive personal information. As such, its not uncommon for fake emails to contain links or attachments that ask you to submit information such as your password, username, bank account number or Social Security number.

Be wary of any such emails and call the company or business first to double-check if they truly did request this information.

Youll often find that there is no need to submit that information via email as the company or business in question would already have it on file.

Prevent Phishing By Educating Your Employees

To combat the threat of phishing, organisations must provide regular staff awareness training.

Its only by reinforcing advice on avoiding scams that your team can develop good habits and detect malicious messages as second nature.

With our Phishing Staff Awareness Training Programme, these lessons are straightforward.

The online subscription course explains everything you need to know about phishing, and is updated each month to cover the latest scams.

Book this course today to receive 50% off your first license. Just enter the code PHISHING50 at the checkout.

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Scams Are Especially Common On The Internet Where New Technologies And Anonymity Can Help Fool You Here Are A Few Examples Of Online Scams And How To Stay Safe Online

Educate yourself on these common warning signs that can help prevent you from falling victim to scam websites.

Your web browser warns you

Most web browsers have built-in features designed to alert you about dangerous or deceptive websites. If you receive one of these warnings, do not visit the site. However, just because a website does not generate a warning, does not mean it is legitimate. Scammers are constantly creating fake websites and it takes time for the browsers to detect them.

Unusual URL Structure

The URL is the address of the website, found at the top of your web browser, for example, . Carefully examine the URL of the website you are visiting. Look for subtle misspellings .

Also, watch for URLs that begin with the website you expect, but have extra characters at the end or unusual punctuation .

If there are any characters or words that look out of place in an otherwise normal URL, you may be on a phishing site built to look just like a trusted website. Read carefully.

No Business Contact Information is Listed

Reputable businesses provide legitimate contact information. If a website does not list an address or phone number, be wary of providing personal information.

Addressed To A Username

How to Diagnose if an Email is Fake or Legit

Writers of fraudulent e-mail have varying degrees of information about the recipient, sometimes none aside from their e-mail address and username. Legitimate companies generally start an e-mail by addressing the recipient by their full name. Many times point of a scam e-mails is to gain personal information about the user, so it may use something more generic, like “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam.”

Any e-mail that does not give specifics is one sign of a phishing e-mail.

Some malicious users may research their target and get a lot of details about them to help make an e-mail seem more legitimate. These types of attacks are referred to as spear phishing.

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Ask Yourself Whether The Language Seems Fishy Pushy Or Urgent

Scammers will try to trigger emotional responses like anger, shock, empathy, panic, curiosity, etc. By doing so, theyre more likely to trick their targets into doing something they normally wouldnt do.

For example, they might send you emails on the following subjects:

  • An unbelievable deal/discount on the product
  • A high-priced lottery winning
  • Unauthorized access of your account
  • Data-breach incident of your credentials
  • Free credit reports
  • A purchase from your account
  • A fundraising campaign for poor/people suffering from rare diseases/victims of natural calamities

There are many subjects that elicit emotional responses from email recipients. Hackers know this and will use email subjects that will spur targets to take action without stopping to inspect or investigate the emails properly.

Check out the screenshot below as an example of how to tell if an email is fake:

As you can see, this example email mentions a temporary hold on the Stripe account due to some unexplained bank-related issues. Now, its likely that people using Stripe on a regular basis would get anxious after reading such an email and try to respond immediately.

What Is Email Checker

Email Checker is a simple little tool for verifying an email address. It’s free and quite easy to use. Just enter the email address and hit the check button. It tells you whether the email id is real or fake. Sometimes, its unable to correctly predict and say unknown because some email providers have put some limits and restrictions or they simply dont like any verification checks on their mailboxes.

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If You Get A Suspicious Phone Call Or Voicemail

Scammers use fake Caller ID info to spoof phone numbers of companies like Apple and often claim that there’s suspicious activity on your account or device to get your attention. Or they may use flattery or threats to pressure you into giving them information, money, and even Apple gift cards.

If you get an unsolicited or suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from Apple or Apple Support, just hang up.

You can report scam phone calls to the Federal Trade Commission at reportfraud.ftc.gov or to your local law enforcement agency.

Check If The Linked Website Is Legitimate

Paypal email #scam

If you have clicked through to a website or landing page from an email thinking it is genuine, make sure you also double-check the authenticity of the website.

If its a big brand or company, simply open a new tab and do a quick search for them. Click on their website and then compare the URL addresses.

Are they the same, similar or totally different? This should give you a good indication as to whether the landing page is a fake or genuine.

If you haven’t yet clicked a link but are being asked to do so you can access an important message on your account, avoid the temptation to act quickly and log in via the email link. Instead, open your browser and log in to your account via the official website. Check if the message is really there. If it isn’t, you know the email you received is likely to be from a scammer.

Key Information

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How To Verify An Emails Sender

You have an email. It looks legit and you really want to click that link, but how do you verify that its not a phishing scam ? Phihing is becoming increasingly common, so its good to know how to identify a phishing email instead of falling for it.

We will show you where to look to have the best chance possible of identifying a phishing email instead of becoming its victim.

What About Email Attachments

The email that weve been looking at is a scam, no question about it. But it does help show another powerful clue that something may not be right. And that is what was attached.

If youre receiving attachments from people that you dont know, do not open those attachments. They most likely have a virus within them that will infect your computer after you open the attachment.

Even if you know the person, be very careful when you open attachments. Many people will get malware on their computers because they received an attachment that had malware in it, opened it, and thus allowed the virus to spread.

And it doesnt matter what the attachment is. It could be a PDF, a jpg, or even a text file. Each one of them can be embedded with malicious code that will try to take control of your computer if it has the chance.

If you have anti-virus on your computer, its always best to have the anti-virus software check your attachments before you open them. It could save you a lot of time, and money, in the long run.

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Wrapping Up: What To Do If An Email Is Fake

The aforementioned seven tips will definitely help you spot a fake email. But, what to do after you receive such an email? Ignoring such fake emails wont be enough. You should also delete phishing emails as soon as you get them. But before deleting them, you should:

  • Block the sender: Click on the More option on the email. It is located in different places in all the email clients. For example, Google Chromes More tab is located on the upper right side of the email. In Yahoo, it is located at the bottom of the email. So, search for the three vertical dots and click on the Report as spam and Block this user.

If you dont want to open the email, you can right-click on it in your inbox. In the drop-down menu in Gmail, for example, go to Move To and click on Spam.

Report the Fake Email: If you receive a phishing email from someone impersonating a company, forward the email to that companys official customer support email address to let them know.

If you have become a victim of cybercrime due to a phishing email, register the complaint with the following groups:

What Is Email Extractor

How to Quickly Tell If An Email Is Fake or Genuine

Email Extractor is a simple little tool that will help you find email addresses hidden in a content. Just copy the entire block of text and paste it in the above input box. All you have to do is click on the Extract Email button, it will find all the email addresses present in your input text. Any duplicate address will be ignored safely, as a final result, you get a unique list of all emails extracted.

Note : This is the initial version of this tool. I’m adding more features, feel free tosend me an email if you have any suggestion or feedback.

Note : We do not share email address with anyone.

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    It’s Always Best To Check Suspicious Emails

    You should always check the things mentioned above when you feel that you have received a suspicious email. Hacking, scamming, and online frauds are becoming more common as time passes. Scammers dupe the innocent public who know little to nothing about technology by using different techniques.

    In the future, the number of spoof emails will only go upwards due to the significant shift towards digitalization. Use caution and check when in doubt.

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