Although most people realize that it’s never a good idea to open or respond to an email that you do not recognize, there are some instances in which you may not be sure if an email is legitimate. If you have a business email, for example, not opening an email from someone familiar may mean losing a potential client. Here are some of the different signs that an email is, in fact, a scam.
The way that you are greeted through an email can be a huge indicator of whether or not it is a scam. Usually, scammers try to be as polite as possible. It is likely that you will be greeted as “sir,” “ma’am,” “friend,” or “dear.” Sometimes, your name may be included in the email, depending on where the person has obtained your email address from. Since scam emails are often sent to massive groups of people, however, they are usually just copied and pasted.
Requests or Claims of Money
In almost every scam email, money will be mentioned in some way or another. With certain types of scams, you will be asked to send money to a starving family in a foreign country. There are other times when you will be told that you have inherited any given sum of money from a long lost relative. There are also scams in which you are told to file a claim, or transfer money from someone else’s account into your own. Lottery scams are also very common. Once you get to this part of the email, it is hard to not realize that you are being scammed. If the name of the sender looks familiar or they have actually mentioned the name of one of your relatives, however, it is important to be very cautious because it’s still likely that this is nothing more than just a scam.
Usually, scammers leave the address of an alternate email. There’s a strong possibility that you’ve encountered a scam if you reach the bottom of the email only to find something along the lines of, “Please do not respond to this email. Instead, contact me at (fill in the blank with another email address).” Instead of an email, some scammers do provide a phone number instead. The number will almost always be to a telephone line outside of the country.
Misspellings and Grammar Issues
Since most email scams are done by people who live in other countries, or are at least meant to appear as though they are, you will usually notice a lot of misspellings and other grammar issues. Sentence fragments, for example, are very common grammatical problems that can be found among emails sent by scammers. If there is at least one sentence in the email that doesn’t make chance, there’s a possibility that it may be a scam.
One or more of these signs may indicate a scam. Keep in mind, however, that it is always best to avoid answering or opening any emails from senders that you do not recognize. There is a strong possibility that it is a scam.