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How to spot email scams

Receive a suspicious email? How to tell if it’s a scam and what to do about it.

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Can you spot a fraudulent or suspicious email or text message?

Email and text fraud is becoming more sophisticated and effective, and more than half of all email is spam, according to 2018 data from Symantec.

Red flags to look out for:

  • Subject line demands urgent or immediate action
  • Odd or unfamiliar senders
  • Unexpected requests

If you open the email:
The body of a phishing or fraudulent email can be full of clues, but it can be difficult to distinguish from legitimate emails.



From: MyBank
Doesn’t include the company’s reputable name.

Has an attachment. Legitimate customer communications should not.

Dear Customer,
Doesn’t use your name.

We suspect an unauthorised transaction on your account.
Has misspelled words or awkward word choices.

To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.
Asks you to verify your information.

Our records indicate your account was overcharged. Do not call us, to receive your refund, you must click on the link below ASAP.
Tells you not to call.

Includes unusual URLs or one that appears to be altered.

If you’re a Bank of America client, emails related to your accounts display your last online banking log-in date and the last 4 digits of the account in question.

If you’re suspicious of an email:

  • Do not click on any links, reply to the message or download any items.
  • Even if the link looks legitimate, it could be a phishing link in disguise. Always go to a company’s website by entering its correct URL directly in your browser.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission Complaint Assistant (Bank of America clients can forward the email to—and then delete it.

Stay vigilant—email scammers change their tactics regularly. Your best shield against phishing attacks is to be on the lookout at all times. Bank of America is always working to help protect you online.

Bank of America clients can download IBM® Trusteer Rapport™ for an added layer of protection against online fraud.

Close Disclaimer

The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial, tax or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional and tax advisor when making decisions regarding your financial situation.

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