When someone sends an email pretending to be someone else, it’s called email impersonation. This is a type of phishing scam that can be very dangerous. Scammers often impersonate people we trust, such as friends, family, colleagues, or even our own bank or credit card company.
The goal of email impersonation is to trick you into giving up personal information, such as your password, credit card number, or Social Security number. Scammers may also try to get you to click on a malicious link that will download malware onto your computer.
Reporting email impersonation helps to protect yourself and others from falling victim to these scams. When you report an email, it helps email providers and law enforcement to track down the scammers and stop them from sending more emails.
Here are some reasons why you should report emails that are impersonating others:
- To protect yourself and others from falling victim to phishing scams.
- To help email providers and law enforcement track down the scammers and stop them from sending more emails.
- To raise awareness of email impersonation scams so that others can be on the lookout for them.
How to report
Reporting email impersonation is easy. Most email providers have a button or link that you can click to report a suspicious email. You can also report email impersonation to the FTC at FTC[.]gov/Complaint.
For fraudulent email originating from outlook[.]com email addresses, simply forward the email (including headers) to abuse@outlook[.]com.
For fraudulent email originating from gmail[.]com email addresses, visit the Google policy violation report form: https://support[.]google[.]com/mail/contact/abuse.
Tips for spotting impersonation
Here are some tips for spotting email impersonation scams:
- Be wary of emails from unknown senders.
- Check the sender’s email address carefully. Scammers often use email addresses that look similar to legitimate email addresses, but with a slight difference, such as a misspelled word or an extra letter.
- Look for grammatical errors and typos in the email.
- Be suspicious of emails that ask for personal information, such as your password, credit card number, or Social Security number.
- Don’t click on links in emails from unknown senders.
If you receive an email that you think may be an impersonation scam, don’t hesitate to report it. By reporting these scams, you can help to protect yourself and others from becoming victims.