Emails are being sent every day and have almost entirely replaced traditional letters. With such a great number of digital messages, the notion of spam emails emerged causing not only a nuisance for the receivers by being not relevant, but also threat in the form of viruses and malware. In order to prevent this from happening to you, make use of these five ways to authenticate correct email addresses.
Email Authentication Process
Email authentication is commonly used in the business world. Companies use such services to increase deliverability of their digital letters so they end up in their customers’ inboxes, not spam folder. But the truth is, everyone can benefit from email authentication.
If you don’t happen to have your own business, you are mostly a customer – a person companies will attempt to send emails to. You, as a receiver, don’t like being shown irrelevant content that is not within a scope of your interest. Therefore, you may also come across email related issues, widely known as spam.
It is estimated that an average of 106 billion spam messages are sent every single day. Compare it with 188 billion regular emails going out daily, and you might realize how big the problem is today. That is why email authentication process is of great importance to make sure spam is minimized. But how does it work?
Most popular ISPs such as Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail or AOL practice email authentication to fight spam. This process uses protocols to verify the domain used by a sender. There are three protocols that play a major role here:
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework) – it authenticates the sender’s identity by verifying their return address.
- DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) – it uses a locked box or wax seal to ensure the message is not altered and identifies the sender as well.
- DMARC (Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance) – this protocol checks if the requirements of SPF and DKIM are met before the email is delivered.
Those protocols are trying to make sure nobody is sent dangerous emails, but hackers have come up with ways to bypass them. There are, however, methods you can use in order to check the validity of email addresses.
5 Ways to Authenticate Emails
One of the easiest ways to check whether an email address is correct or not is to simply reply to it. If it bounces back, meaning we get an error message from our mail server the email could not be delivered, the address is likely to be a scam. But hackers have found ways to prevent such messages from being returned to the sender, therefore this method might not be the most reliable one. Here’s what else you can do.
Simple Google or Bing Search
Check if a company or a person you have received an email from actually exists. Type the name of the business they’re claiming to own and see what their real email address is. Alternatively, you can copy-paste the address into your search engine and see if anyone else reported it as a scam.
Check the Real Email Address
This is perhaps the easiest thing you can do in order to check if the email looks fake. The sender’s name may sound legit, but you should always check the address. If it contains a sequence of random characters or some of them try to imitate real letters such as ‘rn’ istead of ‘m’, you should delete the email as it might be dangerous.
Verify the Domain Ownership
If you happen to receive an email from someone you don’t know, a good practice is to do a search on the email domain. If it exists that means it is owned. You can verify a domain by using one of the free online tools such as ICANN WHOIS. This website will tell you when the domain was set up and who the owner is.
The Devil’s in the Detail
There are other clues to watch for such as unusual spelling or grammar in the content of the email. If it looks as if it has been ‘Google-translated’, stay away. Scammers also like to push you to take quick action, by adding an element of urgency. Don’t get yourself be fooled and under no circumstances respond.
Email Validation Services
The best option seems to be email verification software. Such programs scan your mailbox in search for spam. Checking mail validity without your interference is convenient and highly effective. Most software performs complex tasks such as MTA validation, spam trap removal, bounce detection, email deduplication, syntax elimination, and toxic domains check.