How to spot a dodgy email

Fake or malicious emails have been around for as long as email has been around. I think most of us are pretty aware of the obvious ones. Its unlikely that a Nigerian Prince wants to whisk you away and make you the mother of his children. Its also super rare and unusual for an unknown relative in a foreign country to die and leave you millions of dollars. So generally, we very easily delete those and move on.

However, thieves and con artists are getting more and more clever in the ways that they try and get money out of people so fake and malicious emails don’t stick out as much as they used to.

Often the banking ones are the most subtle and nefarious. They usually include the header and footer of the actual bank and look very legitimate. The one thing that you should pick up on first is they are addressed to “Customer”. Most banking correspondence uses your full name or initial and surname. They often require you to update information or click a link to change your password. We would always advise to enter your banking address in your browser yourself rather than click on any link. You can also hover over the link with your mouse and the true address should come up. Sometimes next to your cursor otherwise at the bottom of the screen. Anything other than…. Is not likely to be valid.

Another common concern at the moment is the sheer number of intercepted invoices that are being altered and sent on to customers. So essentially you get an email from a supplier you regularly use and everything looks the same as it usually does. However, the banking details have changed. As this is a relatively common occurrence no one really thinks twice about it. Thieves have changed the banking details, so any money goes into their account. The best way to deal with any email you receive saying banking details have changed is to phone the person you deal with regularly and confirm with them directly.

Other very scary emails happen when a data breach has occurred on an email portals side or other social media site. These often know your email address and sometimes even passwords and threaten you with exposing your adult website history to all your friends (even if it doesn’t exist). As you can imagine this frightens people considerably, even if they are innocent. The thing here is that they only have those details. They have your email address and password that they obtained through the dark web releasing this information. They do not have access to your computer, or your contact list. They use scare tactics to try and make you send them money to keep quiet. The best solution to this issue is to change your password to the email address that you received the mail on. And if you use that password on other accounts, to change that too.

Also never let anyone that you don’t know or trust gain access to your computer via a remote software such as Team Viewer or Anydesk. I promise you Microsoft does not know you exist and will definitely not phone you to fix something on your computer remotely.


45 Camilla Leurs

Camilla Leurs

Camilla Leurs is the owner of Out The Box IT. She is a tech guru that assists businesses and individuals with any computer related concerns. 

Nicci Hosking

Nicci is our hardworking, loyal, and devoted KZNWIB administrator that is professional, personable, and committed to providing an excellent service. She can be counted on to meet deadlines efficiently with enthusiasm and high work quality.