Is This Spam?


ROB MENDICK, service desk engineer


Can you tell the difference between a regular email and spam? With many of us operating multiple email accounts, those for personal use and work, most of us can agree that it’s difficult to manage our inbox properly. So, what happens when spam manages to creep into our inboxes disguised as an innocent message? While some spam can be harmless, others are a source of danger that can affect the safety of your identity, finances, and your devices.

Identifying Spam

Avoiding spam is becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible. However, knowing how to identify spam is essential to keep you and your communications safe from interference of suspicious third parties. Below are a few tips that can help you better identify spam messages.

Verify the Sender

How often do you open your inbox only to find a confirmation for purchase or subscription that you don’t remember making? Because curiosity often gets the best of us, you may open the message trying to figure out what exactly is going on. After a quick glance, you find the email looks legitimate, and even the sender appears to be a company in which you are familiar.

So how can you verify if this message is legitimate or spam?

  • First, do not simply trust the sender title assigned to the email. Instead, look deeper by clicking on the sender’s name for a full email address.
  • Does the email address match the company, or is it an email address you recognize from one of your contacts?
  • Make sure to also look at the domain where the email is originating from – for example, or Major companies will generally not send emails from Yahoo or Gmail. Instead, they will send emails from their own company sites.

Review the Subject Line & Content of the Message

The truth is there will be times you may overlook some glaring errors that indicate you are dealing with spam. Most spam messages have a few common characteristics you should be aware of so you can better recognize these emails at a glance.


Spam messages will likely have subject lines creating a sense of urgency for the recipient. Subject lines that include demands such as “respond immediately” or “act now,” should be investigated further before taking any further action.

Request for Information

Messages requesting personal information are very likely to be spam. DO NOT provide any personal information through these messages, even if there is a link provided. If it is a merchant with which you often do business, you can log in to your portal independently of the email to double-check if anything is amiss with your account.

Major Mistakes

Glaring grammatical and spelling errors are also a red flag indicating an email is likely spam. While a minor error may occur in an email exchange occasionally, spam messages are usually filled with major mistakes in language usage, grammar, and spelling.

How to Avoid Spam

While it may be difficult to eliminate spam completely, there are steps you can take to minimize your exposure to these unwanted messages and potential threats.

Turn on Spam Filters

You might be hesitant to turn on your spam filter for fear of losing important messages. However, this is your best spam defense to weed out the imposters from the real deal. While it might be possible for unintended messages to end up in the spam folder, there are some things you can do to prevent that from happening. Add common email addresses you interact with to your contact list and check your spam folder from time to time to search for any lost messages.

Anti-Spam Software

Spam blocking software can be an effective way to eliminate spam before it even makes it into your inbox. Have your tech support help you find and install the proper program.

Remain Alert & Aware

Staying informed of trends in phishing attacks and malicious tactics can help you better manage your inbox and reduce the risk of becoming its next victim. Knowing what strategies spammers are using will help you understand what to expect and what to look out for.

Don’t Open Anything Suspicious

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Do not open any attachments or click on any links provided in an email if you’re unsure if it’s legitimate. If the message was received in your work capacity, forward it to your IT department for further analysis or verification. If it is a message coming from someone you know, send them a separate email, text, or even a phone call to verify its authenticity.

Spam is here to stay, but it can be managed properly with the tips provided in this article. It’s important to remain guarded and alert when suspicious messages appear to protect yourself from any possible attacks. Contact us to discuss possible technology solutions for your company. 





Rob Mendick is a Service Desk Engineer at Lutz Tech with over 25 years of experience in information technology. He is responsible for troubleshooting computer and server discrepancies and responding to any technical inquiries from clients. In addition, he specializes in domain name services.

  • Server Discrepancies
  • Technical Inquiries
  • Outsourced IT Clients
  • Technology
  • BS in Computer Science, Minor in Mathematics, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
  • St. Gerald School Information Technology Advisory Board
  • St. Gerald Men's Club, President


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