How To Spot Scam Emails, Five Top Tips


Recently at ITVET, we received an email stating that we are eligible for a refund on our tax disc and to follow a link to the direct gov website to fill in an application form to receive this refund. This is not genuine, if you have received a similar email do not click the link provided.

This particular email was quite convincing, so we have provided a few tell-tale signs that an email may be a scam. Scammers are constantly devising new ways to trick you into giving away valuable information and it is sometimes hard not to get caught out. It is not always easy to spot a phishing email but here a few tips of what to look for.

1. Always be suspicious if an email asks for personal information.
Even if an email appears official you should be wary if you are being asked for bank details, passwords or credit card information. In a recent scam email we received, we were asked to send our credit card details by fax – it is unlikely that your bank would ever ask you to send them your passwords or account number so always act with caution.

2. Check the spelling and grammar of the email.
If you glance over an email it may appear official with company logos and pictures, but on closer inspection you will often spot obvious spelling mistakes and questionable grammar.

3. Check any links included in the email.
Check the link carefully– the link may seem genuine or valid at first but often the link displayed does not match where you will be redirected to if you click on it. If you hover over a link in the email you will be able to see where the hyperlinked address will take you to. The tax disc email we received showed a link to but if you hover over this link is shows a website registered to South Africa. To be safe, do not click on any suspicious links and do not open any attachments that you are not expecting.


4. Check the sender’s email address.
We recently received a batch of emails from a scammer posing as 123reg and they were sent from [email protected] Even if the email address does contain the name of a company or your bank there will often be something slightly shifty about it too such as including numbers.

5. Something just feels wrong
Often if something seems suspicious or not right then you can trust your instinct. For example, if you receive and email saying that you have won the lottery and you haven’t bought a ticket it is quite clear that someone is trying to trick you into giving away your bank information. These may be an extreme example but if you read through an email and you are uncertain whether the information is genuine, then it most likely isn’t.

For any enquiries please contact us at [email protected] or on 01279 464470.