Fraudulent email messages are often referred to as phishing. These emails attempt to gather personal information from you. This information is then usually used to gain access to your personal accounts to steal money or identity.
There are simple things you can do to prevent this from happening.
1. NEVER respond directly to an email requesting personal information.
Generally, emails requesting information from you fall into two general categories. There are emails that are from institutions or individuals which you have no relationship with. Examples of these types of email can include the infamous Nigerian scam or emails from Banks or Credit Card companies that you have no previous relationship with. These are the easiest to deal with and identify. You can always ignore these emails.
The second kind of email are scam messages that appear to come from companies you do have a previous relationship with. If you think one of these email messages may be real there are a few steps you can follow to protect yourself. First, NEVER click on links in a message or fill out information directly into an email. Open your web browser and type in the url that you usually use to access this company (Don't use a link given in the email message). For instance, if you are trying to see if a mail you received from PayPal is real, in your web browser type www.paypal.com and login to your PayPal account. If the mail is legitimate you should be able to find information about the message in your PayPal account. If it isn't in your PayPal account the message is almost certainly fraudulent.
SpamBully helps to identify fraudulent (phishing) emails. SpamBully looks at patterns in email links and message structure that typically occurs in phishing emails. Some of the rules include simple things like whether the link is a numeric IP address. Other rules look to see if a link uses financial institutions that aren't in the root URL. So if a URL contains Ebay but isn't from ebay.com that is a sign of a potentially fraudulent email. We also look at whether an email has web form elements embedded in the message. It is possible for SpamBully to miscategorize a legitimate message or to miss a fraudulent message. The fraud detection is just one tool you can use to help you reduce your risk. The latest browsers also have fraud protection built into them. Both FireFox version 2 and IE 7 have additional protections and we highly recommend using a browser with fraud detection.
If you don't wish to use SpamBully's fraud detection, it can easily be disabled, just go to the SpamBully 4 menu > Options > General and check "Disable Fraudulent Email Detection."
Regardless of the methods you decide to use to protect yourself, it is important to be able to recognize and identify fraudulent messages so you can keep your money and identity safe online.