If you got an email from me, and the from address was xyzinvestments.org instead of the usual hefin@pcresq.co.uk, would your immediate reaction be that the email was fake?

If your answer is yes, you would be correct. đź‘Ť

And you should apply this thinking to all emails you receive. Just because an email looks genuine, it doesn’t make it so.

The usual suspects of fake emails looking genuine, tend to be from BT and McAfee.

So if you get an email from BT, claiming that your account will close down today, or that your password is about to expire, and the senders email address is anything but no-reply@bt.com or something similar, it will most definitely be a fake.

Unless you’ve personally instructed BT to close down your account, this isn’t the kind of email that they’ll send out anyway.

Or if McAfee state that they’ll close down your McAfee account today, or the payment details for the renewal of your McAfee account failed, and you don’t even have a McAfee account, it’s another obvious indication that it’s a scam.

It really comes down to common sense, but with the emails looking like the real thing, here are some other guidelines to help you distinguish the real from the fake.

CHECK SENDERS EMAIL ADDRESS
When you receive an email from Amazon or McAfee, you’d expect the email to come from amazon.co.uk or mcafee.co.uk. But if the sender’s email address was noreply@wellsfargo.co.uk for example, that tells you immediately, that the email is fake.

GRAMMAR
If an email has poor grammar or spelling mistakes, it’s a tell-tale sign of a fake email.

BCC USE
It’s very unusual for a company to communicate with its customers by hiding your email address in the Bcc box instead of the To field. Maybe from a work colleague, but not from a legit business.

So if you see your email address isn’t visible in the To box, it’s usually a sign of a fake email.

CHECK THE WEBSITE LINKS
Just because the website address in an email says one thing, doesn’t mean it’s going to take you there. Here’s an example – this website address says www.bbc.co.uk/sport but if you hover over it or click on the link, you’ll see that it takes you to the pcresq.co.uk website.

The important thing here is NOT to click on a link that looks suspicious, as this could lead to a malicious code being downloaded onto your machine. Just hover over it to check that the website address shown matches the linked address.

DON’T TRUST YOUR FRIENDS
Just because you’ve received an email from a good friend, doesn’t make it genuine. Email accounts get hacked into daily, so if the wording looks out of character, or a friend is asking you for money, make sure to carry out some due diligence first before handing over your hard-earned money.