Recently I’ve noticed a proliferation of spam messages coming to my Yahoo! mail that appear to come from a Yahoo! address – most often "firstname.lastname@example.org." It’s easy to see why someone newish to the Internet might worry that these are official messages from Yahoo!
In this posting, I’ve attached a screenshot of 3 messages I received in a row that are trying to "scare" me into clicking to see what’s the matter with my Yahoo! mail account. (Click the tiny image to see the actual message subjects.)
Here’s how I know these are spam – and some tips for how you can tell when a message is spam.
For one thing, Yahoo! never sends mail where the "from" is merely an email address like "email@example.com." It’s always the name of the related service.
Message #1: "Your account has been suspended."
How I know this is spam: I had to access the account to get the message. Thus it’s not possible for it to be suspended when I just signed in. End of story!
Message #2: "You have successfully updated your password."
How I know this is spam: I had not updated my password. Thus – there is no way my password could get updated. OK let’s say you’re worried someone got access to your account and updated your password.
What is the surefire way I know this is spam? I just signed into my account using my old password. This confirms that my password has not been updated by anyone!
Message #3: Detected: Online User Violation
This is just silly and completely vague.
How I know this is spam: I have not done anything that would result in a "violation." Perhaps these are the emails that go to people who abuse Yahoo’s email system. If you have done nothing wrong, never for a second believe Yahoo! would send you such a message.
Message #4: Important Notification
How I know this is spam: Yahoo! never sends me emails with vague, general subject lines like this.
Disclaimer: As they say in the financial world "past results are no guarantee of future results." Who knows what the spammers or Yahoo! will do next. But hopefully this bit of advice will save you some harmful clicks on spam mail!
Here are instructions from Yahoo! about how to report spam mail.