There are many ways you can be deceived using email. Here are some ways that criminals attempt to deceive you, and ways you can avoid it.


Phishing: Phishing is the practice of sending emails that request credit card numbers or other sensitive information while impersonating trustworthy organizations. A majority of devices and systems are compromised due to users opening attachments or clicking on links within an email. Embedded links should always be verified for authenticity before you click them. Some attachments are designed to compromise the device and/or key systems, so always consider the source of an email before opening it. 

Hoaxes: Email hoaxes take many forms, but their basic principle is the same no matter what. They are focused on convincing a user to perform an action under the impression that their action will be rewarded. To determine if an email is a hoax, ask yourself whether the offer is too good to be true. Does the email promise an enormous reward for doing something small? If the answer is yes, the email is a hoax and should be promptly ignored.

Scams: There are numerous ways to be scammed. Most scams involve some degree of fear or intimidation, or they appeal to a user’s greed. Scams are similar to hoaxes in the sense that they offer something out-of-proportion to what they are asking. However, scams can be far more dangerous than hoaxes because they usually request money from the person they are scamming.

Spoofing: Spoofing is the act of sending out an email that fraudulently appears to be from another individual’s email address. Spoof emails are usually sent to the “sender’s” contact list to raise the likelihood that recipients will open the email.

Spam: The term "spam" refers to unwanted emails sent to you with the intent of advertising or getting you to click a link. At their best, spam emails are simply nuisances to immediately drag-and-drop into the Recycle Bin. At their worst, they can promote illegal products/activities or conceal malware.