There is no single way to detect a Spam e-mail. However, there are a few tell tale signs which may indicate whether an e-mail is genuine or not:
(See the 'Sample Spam Emails' section for additional examples).
1. The ‘From’ can be very helpful…
One of the easiest way to identify if an email is legitimate or not, is to simply look at the ‘From’ field. By doing so, you will be able to tell if the email is from a recognizable sender that is linked to the actual sender name.
2. Is your email address listed in the ‘From’ address?
If you notice that your email address is being identified in the ‘From’ field, then this is often the result of your account either being ‘Spoofed’ or ‘Hacked’.
Check your 'Sent' folder as it may offer the best clue as to what has occurred:
- If you DO find email in your Sent folder that you did NOT send: Your account has been compromised (hacked).
- If you DO NOT find any strange email in your Sent Folder: Your account has most likely been 'spoofed'
3. Suspicious attachments…
The majority of financial institutions will not send out attachments via email, so be careful about opening any from senders or messages that seem suspicious. These attachments often contain Malicious ‘Macros’ designed to infect your computer with a Virus. The Virus infection often occurs as soon as you open the file document.
High risk attachments file types include: .exe .scr .zip .com .bat
4. Request for personal information…
One tactic that is commonly used by Spammers is to alert you that you must provide and / or update your personal information relating to an account (e.g. Email password), and may often claim to be from IT Services at the University.
Spammers will use this tactic to drive urgency for someone to click on a malicious link or download an attachment aimed to infect the user’s computer or steal their information. The malicious link will often divert a user to a fake web page that has been created to harvest personal information.
What do I do if I think I have received a spam/spoof e-mail?
If you think you have received a spam or spoof e-mail we recommend that you DELETE IT. This action is simple and fast. DO NOT reply to the e-mail or click on any of the links.
If you have any questions then contact the IT Helpdesk immediately.