Dear Abe,

I’ve heard of people missing out on important emails because they looked like scams. How can I tell if an email is genuine or fake?


Dear Optimistic,

Telling the difference between a real and a scam email can be difficult. The NSW Department of Fair Trading gives these 10 rules:

  1. Don’t respond to offers, deals or requests for your personal details.
    Never send money or give credit card, account or other personal details to anyone who makes unsolicited offers or requests for your information.
  2. Don’t rely on glowing testimonials.
    Never respond to out of the blue requests for your personal details.
  3. Always type in the address of the website of a bank, business or authority you are interested in to ensure you are logging into a genuine website.
  4. Don’t open unsolicited emails or click on a link provided in an unsolicited email as it will probably lead to a fake website designed to trick you into providing personal details.
  5. Never use phone numbers provided with unsolicited requests or offers as it probably connects you to fakes who will try to trap you with lies.
  6. Don’t reply to unsolicited text messages from numbers you don’t recognise.
  7. Always look up phone numbers in an independent directory when you wish to check if a request or offer is genuine.
  8. Never dial a 0055 or 1900 number unless you are sure you know how much you will be charged.

If you think you might be scammed contact Fair Trading as soon as you can.