Are you sick of scams, fake emails, pseudo-sexy invitations, and click-for-malware buttons?

So are we!

Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid spam on the internet.

It’s challenging to recognize a fake email address manually in a long email addresses list.

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You will be wasting time you should dedicate to your email marketing campaign.

The best you can do is filter out most of the spam manually, and even that can backfire on you.

Your email server provider filters spam and moves suspicious messages to a separate folder.

But it’s not perfect. Some spam tricks the filter and sneaks its way into your inbox.

Worse, false positives, a.k.a legitimate messages, end up in the spam folder.

While you can’t outroot these errors once and for all, you can reduce them.

Here is how you can do that!

This article is your guide on how to check if an email address is fake, validate email addresses and get rid of spam addresses.

Keep on reading!

1. Verify that the Sender’s Address is Legitimate

Phishing email’s first sign is that attackers pose as legitimate companies or people.

By posing as a legitimate person or business, the cybercriminal’s target is to appear legitimate and you will engage with it.

As a rule of thumb, legitimate organizations use email addresses with the company’s domain name after the “@” symbol.

For example, xyz @uber.com, xyz @amazon.com, [email protected], etc.

Always check if the company’s domain is after the “@” sign.

These companies paid to own and have their companies’ names as domain names.

To have an email address with a personalized domain name, an authorized person from the company needs to create one for you.

If you receive an email with a domain name of a well-known organization, here’s how you can easily verify a fake address:

  • The sender’s email address has a public domain email address like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.
  • The email is sent from an unknown domain name.
  • The sender’s name and the name in the email address don’t match.
  • The sender’s email address ends with “@gmail.com” or some unusual domain name after @.

Cybercriminals hope that a target will see the sender’s name and will forget to check the sender’s email address.

2. Check for Uncommon Uses of the Email Bcc Field

You might find your email address listed in the Bcc field instead of the recipient lines in some emails.

Keeping the recipient in the Bcc field is very valid yet it is unusual for organizations to do it when communicating with customers.

No legitimate company would send a blind carbon copy email to verify your account information or to request customers to download the transaction receipts.

When usually, the company would reach out to you directly.

If you receive your email address in the Bcc field instead of in front of “To:” or “Send To:” it’s a good sign of a fake address.

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3. Verify Unusual Spelling and Grammatical Errors

If an email is full of grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors, that’s a red flag.

Companies, real ones, follow strict email etiquette and editorial standards.

There is no denying that a small typo here in there is bound to happen and it’s totally fine, they can happen on occasion, what’s uncommon is to see so many typos in a single one single email.

Never ignore such errors.

A reputable company won’t send an email with so many grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors.

4. Check Whether there are Embedded Links Redirect to Unexpected Websites

Another trait of a fake email is unexpected redirect links.

An email with embedded links must take you to the same web page as written in the link.

However, scammers include copy that will take you to a legitimate website, but the embedded hyperlink takes you to a phishing or malicious website instead.

For example, you get an email “coming from PayPal.”

The alleged Paypal email is warning you about an unauthorized login attempt and asking you to change the password to protect your account.

The alleged Paypal email includes a link to change your password. The link probably looks like this:  https://www.paypal.com/account/passwordChange.

The link looks safe and legit. But when you click on this link, you will be redirected to some spammy website that looks legitimate because they use PayPal’s site design, colors, fonts, and logo.

The fake website will try to trick you into sharing your login credentials or other confidential details.

Some links might lead users to a malware-laden website that auto-downloads malware onto users’ devices without their knowledge.

According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), most malware is sent via email.

Sometimes, the “Unsubscribe” tab hides malicious redirects as well.

How can you tell whether a link is legitimate without actually clicking on the link?

There are two ways you can check for fake links in suspicious emails:

1. Hover your cursor over the link to display the real URL. As you can see in the screenshot below, hovering over the link will show you where the link is redirecting to.

If the pop-up URL differs from the information displayed in the linked text, it’s likely a malicious link. Don’t click on it!

2. Right-click on the link (or button) in question and select “Inspect” in the drop-down menu

On the right-hand side (or at the bottom), you’ll see a new window pop up with a bunch of code.

5. Use an Email verification tool ( Email Inspector)

Email Inspector is an email verification tool that has multiple verification processes and multiple integrations.

Email Inspector checks for spam traps, hard bounces, and addresses that send your emails to the spam folders at aggressive rates.

Email Inspector also removes fake and misspelled email addresses.

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