Is This Email Address A Scammer?

Jason Che
email scam

An email scam can always be lurking in the next corner, or in this case the next subscription. They can come in various shapes, forms and names. But they all can have great consequences for us, should we fall prey of them.

From inviting viruses into our computer to losing our credit card information. Email scams have been around since the release of email to the general public. Most of us learn to distinguish an email scam from a legit email, however sometime we need a bit of help deciding.

Email scammers are always improving and refining their tactics. If we want to be aware of any potential scams then we should begin by knowing the different types.

Types of email fraud and email scam.

Advance-fee fraud.

Inside of this bunch there’s the popular and well-known “Nigerian prince” scam. It’s basically a promise of a fortune should you accept a deal with a bank or a “royal” Nigerian prince.

It goes without saying that whatever money someone gives never comes back.

International lottery.

Ranging from a visa card to a million dollars, an email that’s says you won a lottery you don’t remember being a part of, is never something to be glad about. Often the victim’s name is used in the email. They ask for the banking and credit information.

FBI email.

In this modality the “Anti-terrorist and monetary crimes” division of the FBI sends an email with an “order”. This usually comes with the news of an inherence from somewhere in the world and the FBI needs all your information to proceed.

Phishing.

It’s about directing the user to enter its details in a shady website that looks a great deal like a legitimate one. Often enough the fake website resembles the one from a bank.

Job scams.

In this modality of an email scam, the scammer takes advantage of a person looking for a job. They claim to be a legitimate company looking to hire the person and ask for banking information as well as personal information. Usually it comes with a custom website tailormade for the victim’s resume. The information is then likely used to gain access to the victim’s bank account or to open one in its name and take a credit out of it.

How to spot a fake email address.

Most of the time a scammer email has many signs of being exactly that. Usually there are easy ways to differentiate a fake from a real address.

Start with the name.

Usually they contain generic names or totally inconsistent ones. For example, “Admin-fortune” or “Ax32yed95”. If the local name of the address is something like that then likely that lottery you just “won” is not real.

Check the domain.

They usually come from domains we don’t recognize. This could be the domain from a company we don’t know anything about, or something completely out of sense like “ar875xzt.com”. Yep, if you see something like that one, then it likely is a scammer. This is not always valid for Tor sites.

Search for too many typos or misspelled words.

The majority of all email scam's are often incongruent and having incomplete words or sentences can provide to be a good indicator of an email scam. Many scammers don’t take the time to check spelling or read everything they wrote, and this is a point to our favor.

Request personal information.

Keep an eye out for emails that ask for personal information. Giving your real and personal data and should not be done lightly via mail. Real reliable companies know this and they’re never going to ask for your personal data this way.

Check.

If you’re still not sure about an email address then follow a simpler approach to know if it’s a scam.

Do a google search for the company or organization that sent the email.
Visit their website and look for phone numbers or email addresses.
Call or get in touch with them, then ask them to verify the information from the mail you received.
In case you know the sender, call them and confirm what’s in the mail.

If any of the steps mentioned above fails, then likely you’re dealing with an email scam. Should this be the case don’t pay attention and don’t play along with them.

Other more direct approaches.

Most of the time these scams are identified and their emails blocked or sent to the spam folder. And therefore, the address gains a bad reputation with the recipient’s servers.

Often the addresses that send this kind of emails are spammers and as such they’re likely blacklisted in some servers. If you want to verify if an address is considered a spammer somewhere you can turn to services online.

Services like the ones of an email verifier can tell you whether the address is blacklisted in some server. Being blacklisted is usually a good sign of a spammer. A good service to turn to in these cases is EmailVerify.

Usually these services follow a process to check the address.

Email address syntax check. It checks that the address given is properly formatted.
Domain and MX records check. This will check the DNS entries of an address.
Role-base account detection.
Disposable email address detection.
Abuse detection. It verifies that the address is not know for the complains against it.
spamtraps. In this stage the system identifies which addresses are considered spam.
Check blacklisting. Verifies that the Ip address of the email address is not blacklisted in any server.
Final verification. It verifies that the mailbox exists without the need to send emails to it.

A final warning.

No matter how much of a joke an email scam may look like today, it’s considered a fraud and should be treated as such. As you have seen falling prey of one of these scams can put you in a really bad place.

Heed the warnings and always check everything if and address doesn’t seem good to you. The first protection you have to rely on is yourself. In case you’re just not sure then turn to EmailVerify and leave the shady addresses in their capable hands.

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