How to tell if an email is trustworthy
Barely anything is safe from scams these days. Phishing is no longer just something that happens in phony letters and phone conversations- it now lurks in the shadows of the internet as well. It is extremely important to be as careful as you can about phishing scams and viruses you could download through many different sites. A big problem is the fact that these may be sent to you through emails messages. This is why it is important that you know whether or not an email is to be trusted before you potentially download a virus.
A definite sign that something may be a virus is if it is from an email address you don't recognise. Emails that you should be receiving are from people you personally know such as work colleagues or friends and family, and emails from websites you have used your email address to sign up to. If you receive an email from an address you do not know, it is a sign that it could be a virus. If the email address looks suspicious, such as a series of numbers and letters that make no sense, it is highly likely that not only is it a scam, but it is also spam. Phishing sites will make multiple email addresses with the intention of disposing them once they have sufficiently spammed a great deal of people. If you have a rather standard email address, such as a common name like 'john smith', you will probably find yourself with more emails like these.
Another sign that there is something fishy with an email is if it is in your spam folder. Your email address will automatically register many scam emails as spam and put them in that folder so you are not bothered by them. If there is a suspicious email in your spam folder, you are best deleting it right away lest you accidentally open it and download a virus- if you see any suspicious emails on your account, do your best not to open them.
Another tell tale sign that an email is not to be trusted is if there are a lot of errors and links in it. This does involve opening the email the majority of the time but if you have a good antivirus software and do not click on any links, you should be fine. These emails may come from email addresses that you trust but be warned- many an email account gets hacked by these spammers. If you get a strange email from a friend's email address with lots of misspellings and fishy links in it, alert them immediately that their account had been compromised. Do not reply to the original email however- compose a completely new one to the infected person.
As you can see, detecting fishy emails is a painstakingly difficult business. However, if you are internet savvy and only open emails from people you trust that look trustworthy, you should spend your days browsing without a care.