If your spam filtration settings are optimized and your email address is set up properly, the chances are a majority of spam emails sent to you end up in a designated spam / junk folder, or don’t reach you at all. However even when everything is done right, spam emails can and will find their way into your inbox.
Below are some ways to help you become a better spam spotter.
- Domain name in the subject line
- Addressed to “Dear Website Owner”
- Skype name within email signature
- Spelling and language errors
- Is That A Threat?
Generally the more generic the content the more cautious you should be. If your domain name is all that’s in the subject line, you should be weary of spam before you even open the email. Tread lightly.
This builds on item 1 above. A generic greeting like this at the start of an email is probably the most obvious and easy to spot of spam reg flags. Side note: if the email turns out to be legitimate, then your new concern is why the sender didn’t bother to find out your name. Other popular examples of generic greetings are “Dear domainname.com”, “Valued Customer”, “Resident” etc.,
For some reason it appears that including a Skype link / phone number within the signature of an email has become synonymous with spammers. Like all rules there are exceptions, perhaps you or someone you know utilize Skype enough to warrant it being mentioned in an email signature, but if this is paired with one of the other items listed here, you’re looking at spam.
Professionals and companies take great care in how they communicate and present themselves via digital platforms. If you receive an email that is full of improper sentence structure, spelling mistakes and odd use of fonts, then this is likely a poorly done spoof and you may want to delete the email pronto.
Where we used to see a lot of get rich quick based spam emails (Nigerian Prince anyone?), we’re now seeing more of the “Urgent action required!” / “Your account will be closed!” / “Your account has been compromised!” type of emails. These fear based tactics are rarely, if ever, used by reputable companies, and when they are the language used is much more reasonable and professional.
When in doubt, don’t click. If you’re not sure if an email you’ve received is a phishing / spoofing email, or some other kind of spam email, err on the side of caution and don’t click any links or attachments within the email. Forward a copy or send a screenshot to your friendly neighborhood web guy for a closer look.