Words that will alert email spam filters

Spam emails are a part of life that we’ve all had to accept. Often generated by bots and sent in bulk, spam and phishing emails are constantly sent in an effort to outsmart email users, ISPs and ESPs. Some spam can be quite clever in the way that it presents itself, but there are patterns you can pick up on if you’re savvy enough. Certain words in a subject line will often trigger spam filters, so it is important that you know what they are. You don’t want your contacts to mistake you for a spammer or phisher, do you?


The word “invoice” is used by many phishing emails. If you ever see this word in a subject line, there’s a chance that someone is trying bait you in. Always check the sender address to verify if the email is valid before doing anything. Don’t let a scammer profit from your carelessness.

PayPal, Visa, Mastercard or any bank/building society name

Any legitimate financial institution will never send you an email asking for you to verify your account details or ask you for personal information. Scammers will often send emails with the same color scheme and layout as an official financial email, where they will redirect you to a mirrored site, made to look like the one it is spoofing. A good rule is to simply delete these emails as it simply isn’t worth the risk.

Gift/prize draw/lottery/Specially for you/Winner

These types of emails always appear in users’ inboxes. Hundreds of thousands of emails are sent to people with a subject line stating that they have won a big prize or that they have been entered into a sweepstake they’ve never entered before. It is surprising how many fall for these emails, yet scammers continue to send these by the millions every day.

Urgent/Please help

This is where phishers pretend to be an affluent person in a foreign country who have had to flee from some supposed danger. You will have been chosen as the sole trustee of their money and they promise that they will give you a great reward for helping them open an account to transfer the funds to. You’ve probably heard of the Nigerian scam and you have probably seen them yourself.

Casino/Free Bets/Deposit bonus

A gambling scam email will promise high returns, free entry or double deposits. Unless you recognize the website it is advertising, delete the email immediately and do not click on any links.


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