How to spot a scam email

Electronic mail is a very useful thing and can provide fast and effective means of communication. It allows us to store contacts and helps us organise our conversations. It has become an essential part of an extended internet experience giving us access to regularly updated information from subscriptions.

There is a dark side to the relatively free flow of information. Scammers have found ways to con you into parting with sensitive information that they can use to make money.  A method usually known as Phishing.


Stay ahead of the criminals, learn their tricks

Some sophisticated methods have been employed in recent years, for example targeting members of banks and building societies asking them to resend their details because of a computer error. Or ask to reset your password after entering your old one with your email address.

Never click on a link in an email unless you are expecting it.

The email may look authentic and that it is from a trusted source or the email link may take you to a web page that resembles the original, authentic one.

There is a simple way of staying ahead of the criminal online. Be aware of the risks and never give out your sensitive information to anyone requesting it unless you have instigated the process.

Be cautious if an unexpected email asks for your details.

You may receive trash mail or junk mail inadvertently by signing up to some websites as they will sell your details to advertising companies or automatically subscribe you to other websites without it being obvious. It is not a big problem but If you are concerned that this might happen read the terms and conditions before agreeing.

Its not just Email

This plague of confidence tricks does not only exist online and one should be careful giving out any information over the phone to strangers that call.

Letter mail can also cause problems as scams like this originated from this method. Promising winnings but the customer must pay money first in order to claim is just one example the criminals use to convince us of something that is clearly to good to be true.

Be wary if someone asks for payment before receipt.

A note about subscriptions

Email will enable you to subscribe to website newsletters and periodicals, deals and magazines. You can benefit a lot financially if you check your email for updates from subscriptions involving time limited offers. Sites like Groupon and Wowcher offer this type of service.

You can get bogged down with newsletters if you subscribe to everything but it is usually straight forward to unsubscribe from them. A link should be present at the bottom of the email or a link that will take you to a page that will let you do this.

Alternative ways to protect your email account

Always use strong passwords that include numbers and symbols and make it longer than 12 characters in length. For example use a password such as “myrabbitsears780£”


Use more than one email account. There are a lot of free email services to choose from so why limit yourself to just one. In some cases it can help to have more than one email account, it can be used to verify your other account and can help if you forget your password or account name.