Common Email Scams: Spam Email

Spam Mail

What Is Spam Email and How Do You Stop It?

Spam email is considered junk mail or unwanted mail, which can be both annoying and threatening. This type of mail typically contains advertising, get-rich schemes, virus warnings, and many more. Learn more about spam emails, identifying them, and blocking them from your inbox.

Spam Email As A Threat

Spam emails come in different kinds—some emails look real while others look spammy. And if it happens that you receive legitimate-looking spam mail, you could potentially click on links and get redirected to a malicious website. From there, you could fall victim to giving out sensitive information or phishing attacks.

While spam emails are also used by real businesses to send advertisements, spammers and cyber criminals also send spam mail in bulk, hoping to steal money, and obtain credit card numbers, bank account details, and passwords from a few individuals that aren’t too careful. Viruses and malicious code that can give cybercriminals access to your computer are also some of the threats to look out for in spam emails.

How to Identify Spam Mail

Spam mail can look sophisticated, but most of them are easily identifiable. If it sounds urgent, it’s probably spam. Aside from that, here are some of the things to look out for: 

  • Typo errors or awkward phrases
  • Unfamiliar email addresses and links
  • Asking for personal information
  • Mismatched From and Reply To email addresses
  • Too good to be true offers

Types of Spam Email

Advertisements

Businesses can capture your email address through online forms and subscribe you to marketing emails and newsletters to promote their products and services directly to you. Spam mail is considered unethical but many businesses still opt for it because it saves them money.

Anti-virus Warnings

If you’ve ever received alerts or warnings from anti-virus software that you didn’t subscribe to, you’re not alone. This spam mail offers to remove the supposed threat or run a scan by clicking a button or link and will redirect you to a malicious page.

Spoofing

This type of spam mail attacks by copying corporate email designs and formatting to gain the recipient’s trust. The email will contain the company’s logo and the email address used typically looks almost identical to the company’s actual email address. 

Prizes and Rewards

Emails that claim you won a prize or the sweepstakes for something you don’t remember joining is likely spam email. Cybercriminals often add a sense of urgency for you to collect the “prize” and may ask you to click a link or fill out a form with personal information. 

Money Scams

Spammers also take advantage of people’s compassion, often using tragic events or disasters to get you to help by sending money to their charity or volunteer organizations. Other scams promise to send you money and will ask for bank account information along with a processing fee for cash that you won’t receive.

How to Stop Spam Email

Email filters can block the majority of spam emails before they enter your inbox, but there are times when a spam email bypasses filters. Here are some actions you can take to protect yourself from malicious emails:

  • Never click on links or buttons from unknown senders
  • Reporting, blocking, and deleting spam messages
  • Strengthening your defense by using third-party anti-spam tools
  • Filtering out keywords that are often found in spam mail
  • Whitelisting trusted email addresses, domains, and IP addresses
  • Using aliases for your email when filling out online forms and sharing information in public forums or page
  • Never open or download attachments for unknown sendersM