Suspicious Emails – how to tell if they are real or not

Suspicious Emails – how to tell if they are real or not

I receive emails and phone calls every day from worried people all around the Costa Blanca, asking whether the email they have just received from Microsoft, Yahoo, Adobe, Apple (insert any company name you like here), is legitimate. Of course the honest answer is “I dont know without looking at it”. Most of these emails are so sophisticated and look so much like the real thing that its almost impossible to tell whether the one you’ve just received is a scam, spam or legitimate so this month I hope to give you some pointers in order to help you figure out truth from fiction.

First pointer is to immediatly assume its a scam. In reality, its actually much more likely that the email you have just received “out of the blue” is NOT legitimate.

Second pointer – and this is the one that catches most of us out – is to question whether the email makes sense. If you have just received an email from Microsoft within minutes of trying to reset your Outlook email account then its likely to be legitimate. If you have received an email out of the blue then its likely not to be legitimate.

That brings me onto the third pointer. Many of these emails are informing you that your account has been suspended or that some suspicious activity has been spotted on your account and that you should click on a link to deal with it – these seem legitimate. They almost always are not! Rather than clicking on the link in the email, just visit the account in quesiton in your normal way – if its really suspended then you will find out that way and you can be sure that you are on the legitimate website.

Pointer four – check the address without clicking on it. Ok this is a bit more technical but it will give you a good idea if the link is good or bad. In most email clients you can hover the mouse pointer over the top of a link or button and the address will be shown at the bottom of the screen in the status bar just as in the screen shot below…


…dont click it, just look at the website address that its trying to take you to – if you are not certain that its correct then dont click on the link.

Finally, just please be skeptical – I see people every day that fall foul to these and other scams. If you’re not sure then give me a call, I can probably help you for free over the phone 🙂