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Are you surprised that Great Aunt Mildred is actually on email? Well, most likely she isn’t, and you are being scammed. Is it unusual that your Help Desk department just sent out a coupon for a great deal? If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is an email scam.
Typically, if the email is from a scam artist, known as a “fake” email, the sender will try to make sure the email comes from a real company. They are really meant to get you to click on them and share personal information. The real key is in the email headers. Where email headers are found varies based on the email program you are using. In Gmail it’s under Show original. In Outlook you can find it in various places, depending on the version. Most recently, it is in File – Properties.
The headers should be read from the bottom to the top. Each server that handled your email is listed, with its own message, starting with Received. For example:
To find the REAL sender of your email, you have to find the earliest trusted gateway, which would be at the top. You can trust it if it lists the mail server for the domain in question. So, if it is from [email protected], you will see SandraNetwork.com. If you’re really unsure, you can run a query from a utility like MXToolbox. If this is above your technical interest or ability, simply consulting with your IT person is the best idea. The best thing to do is copy and paste the headers into an email to IT and your answer should be quickly answered!
Fake emails also usually have
the following properties:
Urgent tones. If it is threating to suspend your account, ruin your credit, delete all your data. Especially if you do not respond right away.
Asking for an immediate reply with confidential information. Anyone legitimate would not ask for confidential information in an email.
Generic greetings. Most companies that you have accounts with personalize emails to you with your first and / or last name.