In the modern day world of technology, as in any other domain or field, even in the case of emails it has become quite common for many people to get and send emails that are fake as well as lure people into becoming a victim of email hoaxes. It can be dangerous considering the fact that knowledge about one’s assets as a whole, bank details and many other valuable information can fall into the hands of unwanted people, who can make various misuses of all of the information. It can be done by people who send an email in bulk at any as well as every address that they know. It is mostly done in the hope or intention of making people who have received that email reveal some personal sensitive or valuable information, generally their bank account passwords, bank details, birth date, mother’s maiden name, social security numbers among others. It is usually done for collecting valuable information for hijacking the recipient’s assets or even make use of the identity of the recipient for opening accounts of credit in their name. In fact, being fooled by an email, which makes promises of giving or offering free money or even warning of some new crime can be very dangerous and embarrassing at the same time for the recipient of the email, who falls into its trap unknowingly. If you are also planning to discover how to spot an email hoax, here we are laying down before you, methods for the same.
- Check every single time ‒ It is essential for people to check their emails every time they get it. One reason as to how as well as why emails telling of silly urban legends circulate very quickly is because of the fact that people get it from either their family members or friends, making them believe in their authenticity and never imagining that these clever, smart people also can be made fools of. It is important for people for this very reason that before forwarding an email to devote a second for looking up at one of the criteria as given below.
- Make the genuine sender cautious regarding the email hoax ‒ If in case one discovers that the email can be a hoax and has been sent by one who is known properly by the recipient, one needs to immediately reply back to the original sender or making them aware. For that, one needs to choose or select “Reply all” if needed and recommend that the sender sends an email to this effect. Also, at the same time, make a note for including a link to the site, thereby debunking the email.
- Do not respond to suspicious emails ‒ If in case one gets or receives an email asking for money or any other personal vital information in exchange of great riches, it is best advised not to reply or respond to such emails. In fact, replying or responding to emails of this kind, or any other spam for that matter, only confirms that the email account is an active one, thereby leaving chances of getting or receiving more spam in the future. In fact, forwarding an email like this to an anti- hoax or phishing website can slow down its progress or make it stop completely.
- Check for yourself ‒ Many a times, one can get an email appearing to be from a company or website one does business with, or deals with, asking the recipient for putting down any personal valuable information as one’s password or even username for that matter. In such a case, it is best advised for the recipient of the email not to reply or respond to such an email or even click on any of the links given in that email. If in case, one is concerned that there can be an actual problem with one’s account, it is best advised to log in to the website by navigating there oneself. It is not advisable to copy as well as paste links or text from that email to the browser.
Some other suggestions or tips on how to spot an email hoax ‒
- If in case, one needs to log in to an online banking site, it is always best advised to first and foremost check and see if the address is “https” or “http,” as almost all the bank sites will use “https.” If confusion persists, it is always best advised to go to the actual or real bank site by opening an entirely new tab and then typing its name into one’s search engine to find out by comparing the two addresses.
- If in case the email has come from a ‘free’ email account, like hotmail.com, yahoo.com and so on, it needs to be taken or treated with a lot of care or suspicion.
- If there is a link given or provided in the email, it is always best to first and foremost hover over the cursor on it, but not to click on it. In this manner, it can be found out that the actual or real location that link takes one to is a phishing website, one that has never ever been heard of before.
- It is advisable for people to check both the “To” and the “From” sections of the email. If in case, both of them have the same address/name/person contained in them, it is definite that it is a email hoax or a phishing email.
- Make use of the browser’s anti-phishing facilities. Both Firefox and IE have this facility. In this way, even if one does follow a link in an email hoax, or a phishing email, immediately the browser will caution the recipient if the site is a fraudulent one or not genuine.
- Many a times, one gets or receives an email from a family member or a friend who lives close by, or who can be contacted on the phone. In such case, it is always best advised to call them up and discover the truth behind them sending the email or not.
- There are many a times when an email asks the recipient to open an attachment. It should not be done, especially if the attachment’s name ends in .pif or .scr
- There are many times when some scanners make use of email addresses as well as graphics for making the recipient believe that the email has come from a legal or legitimate site. Even in this case, it is always best advised to navigate to that site on one’s own.
- In fact it is always best to ask oneself a few questions for each and every email that one gets or receives ‒
- Am I the one who had entered my name for this sweepstakes?
- Did I get any email hoax or phishing email or spam from this sender before on any other occasion?
- Do I know the sender of the email in person? Have I heard the name before?
- Will I get or receive something in exchange of my personal information?
- Will I be harmed or will there be any damage caused to me if I do not reply or respond immediately to this email with my personal vital information?
In fact, without first and foremost finding out or researching about the factual claims given or made by the email, one cannot say for sure if it is an email hoax, or a case of phishing email, but by adopting the above mentioned methods, one can definitely discover how to spot an email hoax with ease. In fact, one needs to be especially careful regarding chain letters due to the fact that they are bound to be email hoaxes or phishing emails or spam in one manner or the other. At times, such emails can also claim or imply that corporate or even government interests have prevented the information from being spread. In fact, care needs to be taken especially of health or medical-related rumors. For such email hoaxes or phishing emails or spam, it is very necessary to first and foremost check its authenticity with a doctor of repute or even some other reliable source before acting on it.