How to spot a scam email 29



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Email scams are becoming more and more frequent. We’ve either experienced it ourselves or we’ve had a friend or family member caught out. Whether it is a “Nigerian Prince”, an Estate Attorney, the Australian Taxation Office, a message from a phoney business social networking site or something requesting money, bank details or personal information, there are so many out there.

To help others from being caught out by email scams, we’ve put together a guide that can help you spot email scams. Here’s what you need to know and how you can protect yourself.


1. Understand what phishing is

According to ScamWatch, phishing refers to “emails that trick people into giving out their personal and banking information; they can also be sent by SMS. These messages seem to come from legitimate businesses, normally banks or other financial institutions or telecommunications providers. The scammers are generally trying to get information like your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers, which they will then use to steal your money”.


2. Does it request personal information?

No organisations, government or financial will ask for a reply email with personal and private information. They may request that you go to an online portal on their own websites but they will never ask for a reply with information. If you have a request for personal information then this is not a safe email.


3. Check for spelling errors

Phishing emails are often coming from third parties outside of Australia. Check for spelling and grammatical issues throughout the email body.


4. Check the sender

Hover your mouse arrow over the name in the “From” column or right click on it to bring up the information. Make sure the sender’s email address looks legitimate by taking careful notice of the domain. For example, an email from Starts at 60 has the name, “Rebecca Wilson” (our publisher). If you hover over it, it says “”. The bolded section is the domain. If it were to say, “Rebecca Wilson” however the address was “” you could identify that this wasn’t the usual domain name.


5. Check the URLs

If the email contains links to click through, make sure they are safe and legitimate. Look for https:// as this is a safe encryption. If you are concerned, type or copy and paste it into the internet browser, but do not click on it, see what page it takes you to. If it is a safe page that you are familiar with that is great, but if it isn’t then don’t go any further.


Stay safe and make sure you aren’t caught out by email scams by using these guides to sort out the good from the bad! If you aren’t sure about something then don’t click on any links.

Happy emailing!


Have you or someone you know been caught out by phishing emails? What happened? Tell us below.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. If I don’t recognize who the sender is I don’t open anything..I delete, they can also send viruses and when you click on the link they can infect your computer

  2. Simple, don’t open anything that you specifically didn’t ask for especially from banks or any other business or institution.
    Banks DO NOT send emails.
    NEVER give your personal information to anyone who asks or calls you.
    If the bank or telstra or your internet provider or anyone calls you and asks for personal info, hang up. Then go to your PHONE BOOK and find the number and ring your bank, telstra etc., and ask them if they phoned you and why.
    NEVER ask the caller for their phone number, they will give you a fake one that sounds legitimate.
    No one offers you something for nothing. Just delete, delete, delete.

    1 REPLY
  3. Thanks for the reminder. We do become a bit blasé. I received an email from what I thought a reliable source and knew, the moment I clicked it open, that I had a problem. I hadn’t checked the URL. The filth on the page was hair curling (and I’m no prude)! I clicked Close and a new page opened saying I was in contravention of ‘Australian Police Forces’ laws and had to provide my bank details to enable the payment of $100. It would not then allow me to Close, to return or any other mouse command. I had to do a hard shut down and reboot. Took my Macbook to my computer man the next morning but had no longterm malware from the encounter. Phew!

    1 REPLY
    • Poor hubby googled “leather jeans” and the page had those jeans with the arse cheeks hanging out – and worse. Poor darling didn’t realize where he actually was. I suggested he turn off and google “leather motorbike jeans” for a less shocking connection.

  4. Have learnt to block all unusual/ly titled emails and text messages as not remotely interested in any of them. Only open thosecfrom reliable source.

  5. Most of my emails are deleted unless i recognize the sender! To the stage I now have two email addresses. I use the one other is for those places that want an email address. Then once a week I sweep it clean without opening any!!

    1 REPLY
    • I have two – one for family and close friends, the other for everything else. The second one gets vetted very closely – I do use this one for the few competitions I enter but otherwise very few emails are opened.

  6. I access my money by a master card. At the checkout I get to pick which account the money will come from. Cheq (me) Savings (us) or credit – my credit card. My big objection is that this card will work overseas. I want a card that is Australia only. Won’t work overseas. That reduces the possible thieves from billions to 23 million. Why were we forced out of BankCard (aust only) and into this worldwide den of thieves? If you do fall for a scam your money has gone out of the country into the untraceable before you know it.

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