How to identify hoax emails

Hoax or bogus emails can be identified in a number of ways. They are usually spread by spammers to farm email addresses of potentially gullible people. These can then be used or sold onto organisations, who pay for these addresses, similar to how salesmen may pay for leads.

Several examples of hoax emails include the:

spam graphic1. Chain mail (which may come from a friend) - asks you to pass it on to a specified amount of other mail accounts.

2. Pyramid schemes - who promise a fee for forwarding your mail onto as many people as possible.

3. Virus, spyware, hacking or general security warnings to pass on to others.

As you can see from the above examples, hoax emails are not like phishing mails and are looking for you to forward them on rather than giving away any sensitive information.

Do not fall victim to hoax emails, do not forward them to anyone else, and if a friend sends you one, tell him he has been the victim of a hoax.

By forwarding, or even replying to hoax emails you are stating that you have a live account, and identifying yourself as a target. Spammers collect live email addresses and add them to their list, you will receive more of these mails and may eventually become so inundated by spam that it renders your email account unusable.

If you receive any of these mails simply delete them.