While it is obvious that certain emails are spam, some spam is very difficult to differentiate from legitimate mail. Regardless of its purpose or origin, spam email should be recognized as a serious threat. Aside from the fact that it is extremely annoying, spam may contain malicious links or attachments and is often a vector for other serious attacks like phishing and malware. Here are some tips and best practices for identifying spam email:

  • Look for unknown, suspicious or spoofed email addresses. Pay attention to the sender’s email address, especially if a message seems strange or suspicious. Attackers often use spoofed email addresses to deceive recipients. 
  • Be wary of unfamiliar links or strange attachments. Refrain from clicking on links or downloading files in emails unless you trust the source. Malware, viruses, and other types of malicious material can be easily downloaded through malicious attachments or links.
  • Look for misspelled words or added characters within the subject or body of an email. Spammers often intentionally misspell words or insert additional characters within their messages to evade spam filtration software. Be cautious of emails that contain spelling and/or grammatical errors.

Read more about email spamming methods & how to prevent.

Think before you respond. If the content in an email seems too good to be true, it likely is! Such emails are often phishing scams trying to steal credentials or other sensitive information. Remember to never give out personal information such as passwords, social security numbers, or credit card numbers via email. Legitimate businesses will never ask for it, and sharing sensitive data can result in significant losses and, in some cases, identity theft. Spam emails can be dangerous and can leave your computer or server vulnerable to future attacks. Following the above tips can help you identify the most common types of spam.