You’re scrolling through your email and one of them makes you pause.
At first glance, it seems legitimate. But as you study it more closely, you begin to wonder: Is this email a scam?
If this happens to you, you’re not alone. In fact, 97% of people can’t always spot scam emails.
The fact that you’re suspicious in the first place is enough to tell you that your gut instinct is (probably) correct. Today, though, some scam emails about your website are so well-crafted that they leave you second-guessing yourself.
Should you send a reply? Should you click on that link? What if there really is a problem with your website?
If you manage or own a website, you’ll receive lots of unsolicited emails from people offering their services. They might claim to be able to boost your SEO, fix hidden errors, or create better content for your visitors.
How can you know for sure if it’s legitimate or if it’s a scam or spam email? Keep reading for the answer to this important question.
3 Ways to Spot Scam Emails
As we mentioned before, email scams get more sophisticated every year. You may never be able to tell with 100% certainty if something is legitimate or not.
With that said, some clues are pretty obvious. If an email makes you pause, look for any of these three tell-tale signs of a scam.
1. Spelling & Grammar Mistakes
There’s a good chance the scammer is not a native English speaker. As you read through the email, it might sound more like a bad version of Google Translate than a legitimate professional email.
You might notice multiple spelling mistakes, poor grammar, or awkward phrasing (ex: We speak well English). This is one of the easiest ways to spot scam emails, as a legitimate business is very unlikely to make these mistakes.
2. Unusual or Robotic Formatting
Remember, these scam emails aren’t being handcrafted for you. They’ve pulled your business name and contact information and “plugged it in” to a preformatted template.
You may notice your business name or your website’s full URL listed over and over again. If it sounds more like it was written by a robot than by a human, it probably was.
3. Little or No Contact Information
Real humans with real businesses won’t hesitate to share their contact details with you. Most business signatures include the company name, phone number, email address, and a link to the website.
Since scammers aren’t running a real business, they won’t bother to include these details. Usually, you’ll just see their name along with a fake title or fake business name (or both).
Common Themes in Website Scam Emails
Like the famous Nigerian prince email scam (which still rakes in over $700,000 a year), most scammers use the same tactics over and over again.
Here are four of the most common offerings to watch out for.
1. Improve Your SEO
If you see an outlandish promise like, “We guarantee you’ll make the first page of Google search results!” it’s almost certainly a scam. Although some legitimate companies will do cold outreach, they won’t come out of nowhere to make huge search engine promises like this.
2. Write Content for Your Readers
No one out there is writing content for websites and getting nothing in return. If you get such an offer, it’s either a scam to get backlinks to their website or an attempt to access your site’s backend.
3. Fix Errors on Your Site
Many email scams center around a number of vague “errors” on your website that they can identify and correct. Unless you’re signed up to receive alerts from Google Search Console, these emails are almost always scams.
4. Phishing Scams
The most dangerous types of website scam emails are known as phishing attacks. When you receive a phishing email, these scammers pose as a legitimate company (perhaps a bank or a streaming service) and ask you to click on a provided link and log in to your account.
When you click on that link, you may land on a website that looks almost identical to the real thing. And when you enter your login ID and password, the scammer can steal those valuable details.
Unless you specifically requested a password reset, be very, very skeptical.
Why Am I Being Targeted?
It’s easy to feel like the target of a personal attack when you receive a suspicious email. Remember that you and your website are not being singled out here — it’s simply a numbers game.
Scammers send out hundreds or even thousands of emails every day. They pull email addresses from websites or public records, such as your domain registration. All they need is one or two responses to equal a potentially great payday.
Scam emails about your website generally center around offering to identify and fix “problems” with your site. They might casually ask for your login credentials or credit card details to “sign up” for their services.
Don’t do it! Giving them access to the backend of your website is like rolling out a welcome mat for a burglar.
Deciding What to Do Next
If you’re not 100% sure an email is legitimate, your best bet is simply to ignore it and mark it as spam. (You could always just delete it too).
Whatever you do, never click on a link or reply to the email, even if it’s just to say, “No, thanks.” Once the scammer knows your email address is valid, they’ll likely start spamming you more.
On the flip side, some legitimate emails from WordPress or your hosting provider may also look robotic or spammy. How can you tell if it’s an email scam or the real thing?
Look for company contact information and examine the email address it was sent from. If you’re still unsure, paste the subject line and a few sentences into Google. If it’s a known scam, chances are the email script has already been identified.
Easily Identify Scam Emails About Your Website
There are countless scam emails out there, and they get more sophisticated every year.
The good news is that the majority of them are harmless. Still, you never know if a single click will compromise sensitive information or infect your computer with a virus.
When in doubt, your best bet is to ignore potential scam emails about your website. Make it your habit to reply only to companies you already know or have worked with before.