How to recognize spam
The first way to identify spam is the most obvious one. Spam by definition is an unwanted message. So if you got an unwanted email, we're probably talking about spam. But there are other ways to recognize it.
1. Miraculous products and promises. The question is: who wouldn't want to lose many pounds in a short time? Or become stronger just by taking medicine? Or get rich by investing almost no money? I would like to, but messages with such promises are usually simply spam.
2. Appealing and urgent subjects. If the subject of the email brings a super lucrative offer or conveys a sense of urgency, be skeptical. Messages with deadlines, such as a limited time to update your IRS info or only a few hours to get that 90% discount offer, are particularly suspicious.
3. Suspicious sender. The sender's address is something that should always be checked, regardless of the case. Spam usually has a non-standard sender address, with combinations of numbers and letters.
4. Grammar and spelling errors. One of the main signs of spam is grammar and spelling errors in the message. It happens because the spammer often is not a native speaker.
5. Strange URLs. Spam is usually stuffed with links. The problem here: if they're malicious URLs, they will redirect you to fake webpages aiming to steal sensitive data or download a weaponized file. In these cases, hover your cursor over the links and examine them. If in doubt, don’t click.
6. Strange attachments. Attachments are also common in spam messages, whether to supposedly present a new clothing catalog or to track a package. Do not click on an attachment that you were not expecting.
7. Some spam messages come with an announcement that says something like: “This message isn’t spam. You’re receiving this email because you have registered on our website”. That’s a nice try… or not!
8. I save the worst for last. Spammers are now using AI. Artificial Intelligence makes it harder to discern if a message is spam. AI enables spammers to write a more convincing email without mistakes. AI can be used to mimic the writing style of a spoofed sender.