How to identify spam emails?

Spam emails can be incredibly difficult to detect. With all types of digital devices making the internet increasingly accessible, the number of emails sent globally is rapidly growing. While roughly 306 billion e-mails were sent each day in 2020, this number is expected to reach over 376 billion by 2025. These numbers are likely to increase even further due to the popularisation of after-lockdown business behaviors, which shifted employees to a hybrid working model. How this expose your employees to unwanted spam emails?


Phishing attack graphic - yellow background


The latest statistics have shown that more than 95% of email messages are believed to be spam. These are quite often marketing emails; however, your inbox is also exposed to dangerous spam containing phishing and malware attacks. Since spam comes in many varieties and can be tricky to recognise, it can manipulate you and pose a security risk to your computer device - even cloud-based documents, and password-protected assets. It is, therefore, necessary for your business to educate and raise awareness amongst employees on how to identify spam and avoid a potential cyber intrusion. Below, we have listed the most useful tips that will help you prevent and protect against spam emails.


Use anti-spam and anti-virus software


The first thing you should do before using your work device is to install Anti-Spam software, that can detect incoming spam emails to your inbox. This type of software is specifically designed to not only recognise but also block suspicious-looking mail that can hide dangerous viruses and phishing attacks. At ADT Systems, we help businesses to choose the most compatible anti-spam and anti-virus software which will protect employees from spam breaking into their work devices. Additionally, we have written an informative blog post - “How to protect your devices from cyber-attacks when working from home.” Please feel free to distribute this amongst your employees, as it is filled with useful tips that will help you avoid spam attacks on your business.


Know the sender - Prevent spam emails


Working with many businesses can mean sending and receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of emails on daily basis. Avoiding emails sent by an unrecognised domain or an email address that looks odd (for example when the sender’s email includes a lot of numbers) will help you recognise spam. You should be extra careful when checking your spam box! Now and then legitimate emails will end up in your spam box, if this does happen you should take extra care as many emails in the spam folder will look identical to legitimate emails.


Spoof email address


Some attackers try phishing attacks methods to trick the recipient by using a spoof email. To show that the email address is from an ‘authentic’ source, attackers will use characters that look similar to alphabetical letters (so they can use 0 instead of O, or | instead of I). It is also common for attackers to create fake email addresses from a recognised organisation. For example, may sound like it's coming from someone working at a recognised organisation. However, any legitimate email, always ends with a domain name, like, using a person’s name for personal salutation at the beginning of an email for example joe.bloggs@ Double-checking the format of the sender’s email address may seem trivial but it is a reliable way to stamp out spam.


Suspicious email subjects - Suspect spam emails 


Ensure that you check your email’s subject line before opening. If the subject sounds like an amazing opportunity to buy, invest or receive, this is a clear sign that the content is spam.
Furthermore, make sure that you will avoid opening emails with subjects containing threatening language. Attackers want to evoke fear and a sense of urgency in the recipient. Emails like this usually contain a message about a bank account suspension, which can worry normal people, leading to a spam email being opened and a dangerous link being clicked. These types of emails are commonly recognised in business email accounts, so make sure that you have an experienced IT provider, like ADT Systems, to recognise and remove any types of suspicious emails.


Providing personal information in a NO


Another variation of spam is a request to “update user information” or a “sign in immediately” message. If the sender requests you provide personal information, then without a doubt, this is a phishing email. Any legitimate business will never ask you for personal information such as bank account passwords or details via email.


Innocent Typo or intentional mistake? Spam emails alert


Attackers deliberately use typological errors so the spam is not detected by filtering software. For example, spelling ADT Systems as ‘ADT Systemz’ can get spam into your inbox which may make the recipient believe is a legitimate email. It is unlikely that trusted brands will make a spelling mistake, so always double-check for spelling before clicking on anything inside an email.


Did you win the lottery but didn't buy a ticket? Watch out 


Last and very common, even in the work mailbox, are emails with winning message content, asking you to click the link to reveal the sum of money or products that you won. Unfortunately, if you did not buy a lottery ticket you have won a phishing scam instead. These emails come in various forms, encouraging the recipient to click links or provide personal information. Make sure that you never attempt to open such emails, unless you have paid for a ticket!


woman-typing-email-laptop-computer-while-working- from- home - business - security


With so many emails sent and received every day, it can sometimes be tricky to recognise all the types of spam that attackers want you to open. After lockdown, people's lives moved even closer towards a digital world. However, not everyone is aware of the consequences that an opened spam email can cause. So, if you are a small-to-medium-size enterprise, and you are still not sure how to best protect your employees from cyber-attacks or you are simply looking for effective and affordable IT equipment, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Our mission is to ensure that you can focus on your business whilst we support and protect your IT infrastructure. Please feel free to share this blog, especially if you wish to educate your colleagues and friends.

ADT has been providing expertise and great customer service since 1993, we have plenty of great advice that we can share with you! Call us on 0330 333 7439 or simply drop us an email at We have many interesting News posts that are worth reading, so, please take a look!

And finally, our new social media pages would love to have you on board! Have a look at our Facebook, LinkeIn, and Twitter accounts!


ADT Systems Team