If you’re setting up an individual account in the System for Award Management (SAM) you will get a validation email from SAM. That email contains a link to validate your account, and you must click the link to access SAM before attempting to login. If you fail to click the link and activate your account, you will have to have the validation email resent, which you can do from within SAM.
The SAM account validation email itself is rather non-descript affair. No logos, signatures, or other stand-out features in the email itself indicate it’s an “official” email – other than the “sam.gov” address – and many folks have called us to ask whether it’s a legitimate email or not, fearing a phishing or other scheme. That’s always wise – don’t click links from sources you’re unsure of! But so far we’ve not heard of a phishing exploit using SAM as bait.