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How can you tell a genuine email

I use Gmail and I was wondering how can you tell if a email in your spam section is a genuine winning email ,Because in the spam section it has a warning saying things like...

Be careful with this message. Similar messages were used to steal people's personal information. Unless you trust the sender, don't click links or reply with personal information.


It contains content that's typically used in spam messages.

so I don`t know what is genuine and what is`t how can you tell?


  • edited 31 January 2015 at 8:49PM
    monsieur_epargnantmonsieur_epargnant Forumite
    2.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 31 January 2015 at 8:49PM
    Depends on a case by case scenario really. Most wins I have had actually come from a different account than that which spits out the marketing.

    Ideal situation, at least from their perspective, would be to whitelist every email account from each and every competition company.

    Real world situation is to create an alias account specifically for the purpose of entering competitions..
    Windows Live

    Yahoo! Mail
    Apple iCloud

    or set up a filter seeking the phrases "congratulations", "you have won", "you've won", "winner", "won a prize" etc putting such message in a particular folder - eg. STAR (skipping the INBOX & TRASH)

    or periodically searching
    [in: trash] congratulations
    or my preferred method is the whole freaking lot of them combined.

    Someone in the forums recently spoke of an email that was a click once only method of claiming a legitimate prize. To me that was an unusual outcome. They also thought it was unusual and it's seemingly the best situation that if you are ver in doubt to immediately contact the company in question. Telephone them, contact them on social, run a search on the email address that sent the message. It's rare that true 'phishing' spam is in isolation, so often the case that many others have spoken of the scammers.

    Essentially do not leave the job to the email providers. Take responsibility for everything that is in there. Get to know your email and begin to recognise the noisy genuines vs the oddball try-hards. If you spot genuine spam/phishing REPORT THEM. Make it a habit to NOT click links in email. I quarterly go through each and every NEW email that hits spam. Sorting by the sender you can batch delete a ton of emails at once. You'll rapidly start to see patterns. I even cross check in here to see how old the comp is. If it's old and I am not interested in the daily abuse to my inbox, I (gasp) unsubscribe.

    Do a little critical thinking before clicking ANY email link. Is the ROOT ADDRESS (the bit immediately after the '@' symbol) something like
    prizewinner AT or is it moneysavingexpert AT
    Where does the link TRY to send you? Do a search on that too.
    how to tell if a link is safe

    Keep in mind that many people are also trying to start brand new businesses. They may not be so savvy about sending email like the big guys and can sometimes inadvertantly get things wrong. If in doubt, look into it.
    “We are not interested in the fact that the brain has the consistency of cold porridge.” - Alan Turing.
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