Email Spoofing As a Type of Cyber Crime: How to Identify and Prevent It?

Spoofing is a cyber-attack in which a fraudster pretends to be a trusted source in order to gain access to sensitive data or information. Such spoofing attacks can occur through sites, phone calls, messages, IP addresses, and servers. However, emails suffer from spoofing more than other data channels: attacking personal emails is the easiest way to access personal data, steal money, spread malware through links to infected webpages or files attached to an email, etc. How to identify and prevent such attacks? Let’s find out.

How Does Email Spoofing Work?

Sometimes, email spoofing happens with employees of certain enterprises. A fraudster sends letters from a fake address intending to infect your PC with viruses, get money, or steal information. The sender’s email addresses are often those that you can trust (colleagues, top managers, security officers, etc.). Also, addresses that are very similar to the senders you know (with an unnoticeable difference in letter/number) can substitute the trustful ones. You can open an email from without noticing that one of the letters in the email address is different.


For such an attack to be successful, it must involve a high level of social engineering. These are the methods used by scammers who are able to effectively deceive their victims and motivate them to share their personal data. Fraudsters use social engineering techniques to hit vulnerable human traits such as greed, fear, and naivety. For instance, when a scammer relies on the victim’s fear to try to get information or money from him. Fraudsters often target older people because they are usually less technically literate.

How to Know If You Are Being Spoofed?

If you think that you have been cheated, check the following signs of the popular types of spoofing:

  • Focus on the sender’s address: If you’re not sure if the letter you received is legitimate, double-check the sender. Fraudsters frequently create similar addresses. If this is a suspicious letter, but the exact email address of the sender is indicated, then contact this sender to confirm the trustworthiness of the email.
  • Be careful with email attachments: Be wary of attached files from an unknown source or even from a known sender if the content looks suspicious. When in doubt, do not open such attachments, as they may contain viruses and other malware.
  • Watch out for bad grammar: If the text contains strange grammatical errors and typos, it could be malicious.
  • Do small research: Find the sender’s contact data online and contact them directly to see if the email is real. Also, search the email content with a search engine if it seems suspicious. As a rule, if the content of the letter looks too tempting to be true, then this may indicate a fraudulent nature of the letter.


Have you ever been spoofed in your life? Share your stories with us in the comments.