Spam email is something which we all receive, most days, and can’t really avoid or stop it. Determining what is and isn’t spam is sometimes difficult, so I’ve put together a very simple guide to help the non-spam spotters amongst you.

Below explains what you can look at to make sure that you don’t interact with an email which isn’t legitimate.

Spam email 3

  1. Name – Do you know this person?
  2. Email Address – Is the email address the same as the person who is sending the mail?
  3. Email Body – Does it make sense? Not everybody can write well, but this makes no sense.
  4. Clickable Link/Attachment – It’s asking you to click a link, if an unsolicited email is asking you to click a link or download a file that you’re not expecting then it’s likely a spam/virus email.

If you hover over a link it will pop up and show you the target – does this look legitimate to you? The below example is linking to what looks like a Russian site about Dieting and doesn’t reference the email anywhere.

spam email

Here’s a quick Spam email example:

spam email

You could receive an email from Joe Bloggs <> saying you owe him £1000. He’s attached an invoice for you to view and a “secure” link to pay the bill.

My thought process is as follows:

  1. You can see that the name doesn’t match the email address which the email came from – Red Flag (Usually Joe Blogs would have his name in his business email, right? Question why Joe is sending from Alan’s address – sketchy.)
  2. The domain ends in something unfamiliar (.cn, .cz, .xyz). Should you be receiving an email from China? No. – Red Flag (If you’re dealing with somebody from China you’ll know their email address and it won’t be a random email)
  3. Do you owe somebody called Joe Bloggs £1000? – Probably not – Red Flag (By this point, you should know that this email is spam.)
  4. It has a file attachment – Red Flag (Are you expecting a file from somebody called Joe Bloggs? Is it an invoice for £1000? If not, why open it? – Curiosity killed the Computer).
  5. It has a link to pay Joe – Red Flag (Again, you don’t owe Joe any money so why would you click the link to pay him?)

If you are unsure about whether an its a spam email or not. Take a screen shot and send it to your IT department, its always better to be safe rather than sorry.