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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Recognize a Fake Email Address

Email is replacing physical letters, and online bill paying is becoming much more popular with consumers than sending a check or money order through the mail. However, with the increased online usage comes a higher possibility of becoming the victim of phishing or email scams, which can lead to identity theft. Sometimes it is difficult for people to recognize fake emails addresses and the emails that are attached. Here are several ways that should help you catch most fake emails that make their way into your inbo.

Look closely at the email address. If the alphanumeric string before the @ sign is gibberish, with a lot of letters and numbers intermixed, it can normally be considered a fake email address. The only time you would actually open an email with an email address of this type is if you know the sender.
Many crooks are taking advantage of free email services online. You can spot a fake email address easily when it starts with a known company name and finishes up with an @(add free email service provider here).com. This can also be true of lottery and banking scams, as they will try to trick you into believing they are having you contact a banking institution at a free email address.
Clues within the email message can help you recognize a fake email address. A message that is “urgent” or that needs “immediate attention,” ones with spelling and grammatical errors, any email asking for personal information, like passwords or bank account numbers, and emails with impersonal greetings (e.g. "Dear valued customer").

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