How to spot an email scam

Computer SafetyThere are millions of emails winging their way around the Internet every day that pretend to be from your bank, paypal or ebay account

They usually offer a link for you to click on to rectify some urgent issue to do with your account.

This technique of baiting people with websites that look like the real thing is called phishing. The aim is to get you to send important information about your account login to an internet fraudster who will then use the details you inputted to access your account.

Here are some useful ways to spot these scams:

Impersonal
Often the email will use generalisations such as Dear valued Paypal user or Dear Network Solutions Customer. Genuine emails will usually use personal identifyable information such as your full name or user name.

Urgent
The scam email will often come across as really urgent encouraging you to act as soon as possible. It will commonly contain a veiled threat e.g. if you fail do act now, your account will be suspended.

Google it
One very simple way to spot a scam is to copy either the subject title or part of a containing sentence that contains less common words. For example you could copy the sentence that says Please update your credit card information in order to trigger our billing system and paste this into Google Search. Important tip - before you search put the words in speech marks like this "Please update your credit card information in order to trigger our billing system" - This will narrow your Google search specifically to that phrase (ignoring combinations of words). It should be pretty obvious when you see results reporting this as a scam.

Comes from your own Email address

One of the techniques to get around SPAM and threat filters is to send you an email from your own email address.  Or even to send it from a genuine PayPal or Bank address.  It is technically possible to send an email from any address but it doesn't meanit has been sent by them.

Carefully inspect the Domain Name
Just because the domain name of the phishing website contains the right words does not mean it is the site. Click here to read how scammers use sub-domains to try and fool you