Cyber Security News

Don't Get Scammed: How to Spot and Handle Suspicious Emails

A suspicious email can look like it's coming from a legitimate source, but there are a few warning signs to watch out for.

Suspicious emails often ask for personal information, contain links or attachments that are not expected, or are designed to look like they are coming from a known source, but with a slight variation in the email address or sender's name.

If you receive an email that seems suspicious, it's important to take precautions to protect yourself, your family and the company you work for.

In this context, we've compiled a list of instructions to help you navigate a potentially dangerous situation and safeguard yourself against email scams.


What To Do With A Suspicious Email


Do NOT forward the email to others (or us) as this can cause the scam to spread further.

If you believe an email is a scam, report it as spam to your employer or email provider and delete it. Then empty your trash.

If you're not sure it is a scam, you can always call the 'sender' to validate its authenticity. Just make sure you get the number you're going to call from somewhere other than the suspicious email.

If in doubt, delete it and empty your trash.

Note: It's always a bonus if you can take a screenshot of the email, including the 'who its from' details.

To learn how to take a screenshot on a Windows PC, go HERE.

To learn how to take a screenshot on an Apple Mac, go HERE.


Be aware of 'manufactured urgency'

A really common tactic that scammers use to trick people into falling for email scams is to create a sense of urgency.

They may claim that there's a problem with your account, or that you need to act quickly to avoid negative consequences. This urgency can make you feel pressured to act immediately, without taking the necessary precautions to protect your personal information.

To avoid falling for this tactic, it's important to take a step back and evaluate the situation objectively. Ask yourself if the urgency is warranted, or if it's simply a way to pressure you into taking action.

Take the time to review the email carefully by following the steps below.


Don't click on any links or download any attachments

Suspicious emails often contain links or attachments that can install malware on your computer or direct you to a phishing website. Clicking on them can put your personal information at risk.

To check if a link in an email is legitimate do not click on it - instead, you can hover your cursor over it and the target URL (where the link will take you) will appear in the bottom left of your screen.

We've provided an example from the last section of this article - you can see that the LINK that we refer to correlates with the URL being displayed at the bottom left.

Sometimes, even legitimate target URLs look long, complex and hard to understand. If in doubt, do not click on it!

URL Preview Image

Carefully check the sender's email address

Scammers often use email addresses that look like legitimate ones but have slight variations. Check the email address carefully to see if it matches the sender's actual address.

Here are a few examples of previous dodgy domains:

  • instead of @facebook
  • instead of
  • instead of

Look for grammartical erors or typ.os

(see what we did there? 😉)

Whilst Grammarly and artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT are improving the quality of dodgy emails, many are still poorly written and contain grammatical errors or typos.

If it looks like 🦆, and quacks like a 🦆, then it's probably a 🦆...

Delete it and empty your trash.


Don't provide personal information

If an email asks for personal information like passwords, bank account numbers, or social security numbers, it's likely a scam.

Legitimate organisations such as banks, telcos, energy providers and the ATO, won't ask for this information via email.

Delete it and empty your trash.

Knowing how to identify and handle suspicious emails is crucial in protecting yourself from email scams.

If you're unsure about the legitimacy of an email, it's always best to err on the side of caution.

By following our step-by-step instructions, you'll be better equipped to recognise a suspicious email, take the necessary precautions to safeguard your personal information, and report it as spam to your email provider.

If you haven't already watched our training, 'How to Dodge Dodgy Emails' then you can click this LINK now. It only takes a few minutes and is jam packed with useful tips and tricks.

Remember to stay vigilant and keep yourself informed about common email scams. By doing so, you'll be better able to protect yourself and others from falling victim to dodgy emails.