Have you gotten any of these spam emails?

by Kelly McNeil on February 18, 2019 in

Here are the five most common types of spam emails you'll see. Do you know how to spot them and protect yourself?

While in the past “spam” was primarily recognized as a tinned form of meat, most internet-goers today will recognize the word “spam” as describing unwanted (and potentially dangerous) junk email. Yet while spam is common (approximately 70-80% of all email traffic is spam), not many people can claim that they haven’t been fooled- or almost fooled- by a spam email they’ve gotten.

So how can you protect yourself?

Firstly, we recommend catching up on our past blog about identifying phishing attempts.

Secondly, educating yourself about the types of spam emails you might receive will help you identify them as you get them, preventing you from potentially compromising your cybersecurity.

The most common types of spam

Averaged out over the course of the year, more than 50% of spam falls into the following categories:

  1. Adult content
  2. Health
  3. Technology & Technological Support
  4. Personal Finance
  5. Political

Adult Content

This type of spam email includes links to porn sites, advertisements for pornographic content, male enhancements, adult dating sites, etc.

Spammers who send adult content will often use attention-grabbing, explicit, and rude words (like “hardcore”). In order to bypass spam filters, spammers will also often distort or otherwise alter these words, deliberately adding symbols or making spelling mistakes (like “se><” or “extremme”).

URLs included in the body of the message often redirect to an adult site, or to a site that could distribute viruses or ransomware. As always, we highly recommend HOVERING over every link before clicking to ensure the link leads to a reputable, safe site.

Health

This category of spam email includes advertisements for weight loss supplements or programs, “magic cures,” non-traditional medication, etc. which can all be bought online. These emails might include links to blogs that tout whatever the email is offering as “too good to be true,” or might include (fake) endorsements from celebrities or other public figures. They might even offer to allow you to try them for free, just pay shipping. (What they don’t tell you is that they’ll keep sending you product and charging your card.)

Don’t fall for it! If that “magic cure” seems too magical, chances are it’s a scam.

Technology & Technical Support

Technology-focused spam emails often include low-priced or free computer hardware or software as well as services for website owners such as hosting, domain registration, etc.

Recently, this category of spam email has broadened to include advertisements for apps, smartphones, and tablets. Be wary of so-called “smart” devices offered for unusually low prices, or offered for free- especially if there is any indication that whoever is behind the email wants you to give them personal information (such as your full name, address, credit card number, etc.).

And, with the rise of apps being used to mine information or turn your phone or tablet into a cryptocurrency farming device, be wary of what you download!

Remember, if you have TechBldrs as your IT support provider, we will NEVER send you emails from an account that does not end in “@techbldrs.com,” nor will we ever try to sell you something in an email. When in doubt, please contact us directly by phone so we can tell you if the email you received was spam or not!

Personal Finance

Personal finance spam accounts for around 10% of all spam messages. This category includes offers to refinance student loans, offers to reduce credit card bills, get better deals on insurance, etc. Like adult content spam, personal finance spam often distorts key words (“fin-ance,” “creddit”) in an attempt to avoid spam filter detection.

Personal finance spam is often very short, advertising a link to click on to take a survey to see how much money you could save, the state of your credit score, or any other type of financial assessment. This link could either lead to a virus or could be a ploy to get your personal financial information. Remember, never enter ANY financial information online, unless you fully trust the (reputable) source.

Political

With the increasing profile of certain political figures, parties, and movements, we’ve noticed a large increase in political spam emails. These types of messages can include links to surveys, polls, fake political sites, offers to join mailing lists, and so forth.

As always with emails you suspect might be spam, do NOT give out your personal information if the email in question seems even the least bit illegitimate. People who design and distribute political spam are counting on the fact that people feel very strongly about their own political beliefs and might be less inclined to think critically about something political they receive.

Now that you’re a spam-spotting pro, your employees can be, too- TechBldrs offers a cybersecurity training program as well as a complete five-part cybersecurity plan.

And if you ever get any emails you’re unsure of, you can email us directly at info@techbldrs.com.

Stay safe, stay smart!