Tech Tip: Spoof Emails

What is a Spoof Email?

Spoof emails (sometimes also called "Phishing") are emails that pretend to be from a company or bank. The most common often come from eBay, PayPal, Barclays Bank etc. These emails will then contain a web link, if you click on this link then you will be taken to a login page and asked to enter your details. Most of these scammers go a long way to try and get your details, most spoof emails contain links to identical websites and users are tricked into entering their personal information. If you submit your information through one of these spoof websites then the fraudster has all of your details and can commit crimes using your identity.

Tips for Identifying Spoofs

(Courtesy of Article Alley)
  • Punctuation: Read your email carefully and look for any spelling mistakes. You can be sure that any genuine emails wont contain simple spelling mistakes.
  • Adverts? Real emails from eBay don't contain adverts for burger king!
  • Hotmail Identity Check: A new feature in Hotmail now warns you if a Sender ID could not be verified. Any spoof email will contain this warning. (please note that recently I received a genuine email from eBay that contained this warning, so don't judge an email purely by this method)
  • PIN Number: Any website asking for your PIN (personal identification number) is a spoof. Do not enter your PIN number! If you have entered and submitted your PIN then contact your bank immediately.
  • Pop-Up Boxes: Some spoof sites will include popup message boxes like the one below. Genuine sites don't use popup boxes telling you to enter details.
  • False Sense of Urgency: Most spoof emails will make you think that your account is at threat if you don't act quickly. This is not the case.
  • eBay Messages: Any genuine email sent to you from eBay will also appear in the "My Messages" section of eBay. To access your eBay messages, login to eBay and click on "My eBay." On the left hand side of the screen you will see a "My Messages" link. Click on this; if the email you received in your inbox isn't listed there then it is a spoof email.
  • Ignore the Email Address: Ignore the email address that the email was sent from. Almost all spoof emails will appear as if they are from a genuine address. Some of the emails I receive are "from"
  • Download the eBay Toolbar: The eBay toolbar is a great piece of software that can be used to spot spoofs. As soon as you enter a spoof website from eBay or PayPal the toolbar will give you a warning telling you that web page is a spoof. The Ebay toolbar is free to download.