How to Recognize a Scam Email and What NOT to Share Online: Former Cybercriminal Reveals How to Avoid Internet Scammers

A former hacker who began his illegal online career at the tender age of 18 has revealed what you should be keeping tabs on in your inbox.

The former cybercriminal turned cybersecurity pro, known by the pseudonym “404,” has shared his top tips for spotting those pesky scam emails and why you shouldn’t overshare online.

404, who served an eight-year stint as an illegal online user, disclosed phishing emails were the most common tool used to trick vulnerable users who “may be more susceptible to scams.”

He said: “Tactics like phishing, sending fake emails or setting up replica websites have been used to trick people into revealing personal or financial information.”

“People can avoid them by being skeptical of unsolicited communications and verifying the authenticity of the sender.”

404, a former cybercriminal turned cybersecurity pro, shared that spotting a dubious email is often down to tone, spelling, and grammar. Pictured: anonymous computer hacker

But what’s the best way to spot a deceptive email? Luckily for us, the former hacker revealed everything.

His main advice was to scrutinize the email address and make sure it’s from a verified sender or organization.

Keep an eye out for spelling and grammar errors in the email address.


  • An authentic and verified email address of the organization.
  • Correct spelling and grammar.
  • Using your real name instead of generic greetings.
  • Information consistent with previous legitimate communications.
  • Information consistent with previous legitimate communications.

The cybersecurity expert of five years has suggested keeping an eye out for the content of the message itself, including threatening language, generic greetings, and spelling or grammar errors.

They also advised Internet users to avoid clicking on links from unverified senders.

404 said, “Hover over links without clicking to see where they lead.”

If you want to avoid falling victim to online scammers, the former hacker urged online users to avoid excessive sharing.

They stated: ‘Most people are woefully unaware of how exposed they are online.

“They often don’t realize how much personal information is accessible to those who know where to look.”

404 revealed that being open isn’t always the best route, especially on social media platforms.

The former cybercriminal warned people to keep their full address, bank details and NI numbers, family information and other highly sensitive information offline.

They also encouraged those who frequent the World Wide Web to use strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and secure, reliable devices to avoid falling prey to lawless online scammers.

Antivirus softwires like McAfee, Norton, Bitdefender are “generally effective” according to 404, but “regular updates and proper configuration are critical.”

Unfortunately, phishing emails and oversharing aren’t the only dangers online.

While ransomware, phishing emails, and identity theft are all commonplace on the tech behemoth that is the Internet, as technology advances, online scammers are also becoming more savvy.

404 said: ‘Social engineering and deepfake scams are on the rise. Stay informed and verify information from trusted sources.’

The career of the former hacker, who identifies with the common error code not found, came to a screeching halt when a “combination of guilt and fear” about the damage they were actively causing began to take over.

404 revealed that those unfamiliar with technology are often targeted by online criminals, citing the elderly as possibly

The former hacker who once made $500,000 in one year and publicized culpability for their crimes continues to “stalk” them. File photo: A hooded hacker breaks into data servers

The former cybercriminal who once made $500,000 in a year has revealed that his biggest crime was infiltrating the systems of a major financial institution.

The consequences of this illegal act have resulted in the loss of their savings by a multitude of people, to the point that the damage has been felt in small businesses and communities.

404 said, ‘Hacking into personal accounts and causing ordinary people financial hardship is something that still haunts me.

Now a five-year computer security professional, 404 has warned against the path of illegal activities on the Internet. Encourage those with the skills to pursue a “legal and fulfilling career” in the cybersecurity field.

They noted, “I would highly encourage people to pursue cybersecurity. Making that change gave my life purpose and allowed me to use my skills forever.

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