Where its “@”

Many scams try to sound convincing by presenting an “official” sounding name to represent the sender. These official sounding names appear in front of the @ (“at”) symbol in an email. An example is:


The truth is that the name that appears in front of an @ symbol in an email address is not at all important.  ANYONE can create ANY name they want when they register an email address.  Just because the above email address sender says it is from “Facebook Security” doesn’t make it true! Never assume that the name before the @ symbol means the sender is legitimate.

What is far more important than the email name before the “@” symbol is the domain name that appears AFTER the “@” symbol. Read our article “How to Surf Safely” for a full explanation of domain names and why they are important to recognize scams.

Here are several examples of emails in which the sender’s email address were all manipulated to look more official or legitimate than it really is. All of these are scams.  Look carefully at the sender’s address after FROM:

American Express Security

[Do you get our weekly free newsletter with the latest scams and tips to stay safe? Sign up now and be smarter and safer using the Internet! ]

Apple iCloud update required

Gasoline Rewards Card

Mortgage Rates Down

Pedofile Alert

Tax Relief Approval

Mayo Clinic

These last two examples also contain another email address that is different from the sender’s email address. They are also made to look official by selecting an important name before the @ symbol:

Powerball Lottery Promotion

Western Union Money Transfer