Viewers often ask VERIFY for fraudulent emails. Here are five things to look for to determine if an email is fake.
At VERIFY, we’re committed to helping you determine what’s right and wrong. One of the biggest questions we get is whether an email a viewer received is a scam. Some scam emails may seem legitimate, but there are ways to determine for yourself if an email is fake. We’ve compiled five key tips you can use to determine if an email is a scam.
Here are five things to look out for to determine if an email you received is true or false:
- The scammers pretend to be a company, but the email comes from a different email address: Fraudulent emails may appear to be from a company you know or trust, such as a bank, credit card company, or online store like Amazon. the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says. The email below appears to be from Amazon, but it uses a Google Groups email address. amazon says his real emails are sent from an amazon.com account.
False sense of urgency: Scammers often go create a false sense of urgency prompting you to click on a link or open an attachment immediately. The email will often have an urgent subject line. The IRS provided this example of a fake email:
Generic greeting: Scammers often use a generic greeting instead of the person’s name. Here is an example of a scam email with a generic FTC greeting:
Prompts you to open a link or attachment: Fraudulent emails often try to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. Some of the red flags include notification of suspicious activity or login attempts, asserting a problem with your account or payment information, requesting confirmation of information, or prompting you to click a link to make a payment.
Spelling or grammatical errors: Obvious spelling and grammatical errors are possible signs of a scam, including those in the domain name. Here is an example from the FTC:
How do I report fraudulent emails?
You can report scams via email to a handful of agencies, including the FTC, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and others.
The FTC Says You Can file a complaint or report fraud with the FTC online. Unsolicited email offers or spam can also be forwarded to the FTC via email at [email protected]
The BBB has a Scam Tracker on its website dedicated to reporting potential illegal schemes or fraud. You can report an online scam.
Social Security asks people to report fraud or scams on its website.
You can also report potential scams via email to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by visiting its Internet Crime Complaint Center website.
Do not click on links or open attachments in suspicious emails. If you are unsure, contact the company directly using an email or phone number that you know is real.