Scam emails…what to look out for and what to do!

email scamsIt’s that time of the year again, every scammer out there is sending emails pushing their luck and trying to catch an innocent person out. Today, online fraud is a large-scale and highly lucrative criminal enterprise. Amongst the most popular of the scams out there are scammers claiming to be from SARS or other investment schemes and of course the ever popular “cash prize” – claiming that you have won a ridiculous amount of money (even though you had never even entered a competition to begin with!).

The scariest part is that it doesn’t take much for a hacker to create an email that helps them to pretend to be from a trusted bank. Once they have convinced you that they are from a reliable bank or are a trusted retailer, they ask for your login details and then obtain your confidential information in a few easy steps! There are over 200million scam emails (formally known as “phishing” emails) sent every day – so there is a pretty good chance that one will land in your inbox! Unfortunately it’s the small and midsize companies that are often the main target because they don’t always have the capital to spend on IT security infrastructure. So how do you prevent falling into this trap and what are the things to look out for? We have identified these and listed them below…


  1. Hover over the “from column” with your mouse, the name that comes up should always match the domain name.
  2. A scammer will more than likely use poor grammar or spelling in their email. They have learnt that people who respond to a poorly written email are normally an easy target for their scam.
  3. A legitimate email is usually accompanied by a logo and or pictures and formal signatures, if the email is plain or looks different to what you are used to receiving from that company then it is best to ignore and delete the email.
  4. If you are asked for personal information or asked to update current information via email, it is probably a scam. The scammers use this to get you to click on URL’s or download attachments that aim to infect your computer or take information.Your bank should never request sensitive or personal details over email!
  5. Your financial institution should never send attachments via email either. Watch out for the following file types in particular; .exe, .scr, .zip, .com, .bat.
  6. If an email seems too good to be true, it most likely is! This one is pretty obvious…You will not have a random bank or person requesting details urgently to transfer money into your account!


  • NEVER;
  • Click on any links in the scam email.
  • Reply to the email/contact the sender in any way.
  • Open any attachments that arrive with the email.
  • If you clicked on a link in the email by mistake, make sure that you do not supply any information on the website that may open.
  • If you think that you have in any way compromised the safety of your details or have lost money in a fraudulent scheme, it is important to contact your bank immediately.
  • If SARS says that you are due a refund and it looks suspicious or they are trying to put money in your bank account – check with your Accountant straightaway!