Caution! 9 Types of Emails You Should Never Open

This notice is archived content and this information may no longer be accurate.
T&I Information Security Office

Despite the best efforts of security researchers, too many people are still falling prey to email scams.  Whether it’s a get-rich-quick scheme or a sophisticated spearphishing attack, here are some emails to steer clear of:

1. The government scam. These emails are made to look as if they come from government agencies, such as the IRS, FBI, or CIA.  Believe us, if they want to get a hold of you, it won’t be through email.

2. The “long lost friend.”  This scammer tries to make you think you know them, but might also be a contact of yours that was hacked.

3. The billing issue.  These emails typically come in the form of legitimate-looking communications.  If you catch one of these, log into your member account on the website or call the call center.

4. The expiration date.  A company claims your account is about to expire, and you must sign in to keep your data.  Again, sign in directly to the member website instead of clicking a link in the email.

5. You’re infected.  A message claims you’re infected with a virus.  Simple fix: Just run your antivirus and check.

6. You’ve won.  Claims you won a contest you never entered.  You’re not that lucky; delete it.

7. The bank notification.  An email claiming some type of deposit or withdrawal.  Give the bank a call to be safe.

8. Playing the victim.  These emails make you out to be the bad guy and claim you hurt them in some way.  Ignore.

9. The security check.  A very common phishing scam where a company just wants you to “verify your account.”  Companies almost never ask you to do this via email.