How-to: Check Before Opening Email

You can tell a lot about someone from their address; email is no different: here’s how to check before opening

Email scams, phishing and malware attacks are multiplying. You’re not safe in your own inbox – unless you take some simple precautions. While your mail provider may run a lot of scans, blacklisting and other email security measures, a lot still gets through. You can weed out a lot of the junk yourself just by checking the sender/’from’ address.

Check the Domain/Subdomain

Look at the sender/’from’ address. If there’s a period after the @ and before the final suffix – .com, .net or whatever – question where the email is actually from. may well be genuine. isn’t. It contains a sub-domain address. The end-point isn’t Amazon, it’s

2. Check variants and close-to addresses. is a variant that appears to make sense. Except it’s fake. You can find a whole raft of fake domains that are sending spam and malicious emails that are credible but dangerous. is probably genuine isn’t.

Humans like to extrapolate what they see to what they expect to see. Which is why typos crop up in text even after several proof-reads.

3. Check inline reply addresses

Even if the sender/’from’ address is genuine, an email may not have come from there if it’s been spoofed (the header changed to look like a genuine email from source).

In this case, make sure any weblinks or reply addresses are genuine before you click on them to reply to that too-good-to-be-true offer (another sign of a fake).

Treat any inline addresses labelled click here to reply without showing the ‘to’ address as suspicious. If the address is shown in full, don’t be a lemming, look before you leap and read it. and should give you pause. You did read examples 1 and 2, didn’t you? Gotcha. AJS

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