Blizzard will make an announcement on their forums and/or their homepage letting all of us know that WotLK beta invites are going out. The email that you'll get if you're lucky enough to get invited will be sent from an @blizzard.com address, will come through the blizzard.com servers (you can check the extended email headers in your email program to see this). The email will have tons of identifiable information in it that only points to blizzard.com or worldofwarcraft.com and nowhere else.
For a reference, let's that a look at what the Burning Crusade beta email looked like that I got back in 2006
From: "WoW Expansion Beta" <WoWExpansionBeta@blizzard.com>
To: My email address associated with my WoW account.
Subject: World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade - Welcome to Closed-Beta!
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Beta Test
Welcome to the beta test of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade!
We're excited to have reached the beta-testing stage for the expansion, and we'd be grateful to have your assistance in finalizing the content. There are a lot of new things to see and do in Azeroth and Outland, and we look forward to receiving any feedback you can offer on your overall expansion-beta experience, including quests, spells/abilities, monsters, zones, aesthetics, and more. We would also appreciate reports on any bugs you may find.
Read on to learn how to participate, and thanks in advance for your support in helping us put the finishing touches on the expansion.
You will need to upgrade an existing retail World of Warcraft account to connect to the Burning Crusade beta realms. Upgraded accounts will carry over to later testing phases for the Burning Crusade.
Please begin by logging in to the website below with the account name and password of the retail World of Warcraft account that you play on. From there, you will be able to upgrade the retail account to an expansion beta account, which will allow you to copy characters to the test realms, download the installer, and access the beta-test forums. Upgrading to an expansion beta account does not affect your ability to continue playing on the retail realms as well.
Be prepared to enter your World of Warcraft account name, password, and the account-upgrade key listed below. To participate in the beta test immediately, the retail World of Warcraft account that you'd like to use for beta testing must be active as of October 8, 2006. If the account is activated sometime after October 8, it will be ready for use in the beta test after the subsequent weekly beta maintenance period, which occurs every Monday between 12pm and 4pm PDT. For example, if you activate the account today, you will be able to start playing the closed beta on the following Monday after 4pm PDT.
Below is the required account-upgrade key. Each game key can be used once to upgrade an active retail World of Warcraft account. The key cannot be replaced, so please ensure you use it to upgrade the account you wish to use for testing.
After you have created an expansion beta account, we invite you to copy characters to our expansion realms. You will be able to bring over up to 4 level 55+ characters to travel through the Dark Portal.
Go to the following URL to copy up to 4 characters to the beta test realms: https://beta.worldofwarcraft.com/game/
Sending us feedback:
Bugs & Suggestions
We've set up an in-game method for submitting game bugs and suggestions, without the need to send us an email or exit the game. To do so, enter the chat console by pressing the Enter key, then type "/bug" or "/suggest" (without the quotation marks).
/bug You can clip through a wall near the priest trainer at the newbie area on Sunstrider Isle.
/suggest The low-level mobs in Azuremyst Isles should drop more money.
There is no chat response when you send feedback through the in-game chat system, but the information is stored in our database and reviewed daily. Your feedback is important to us.
There are new forums for the game at http://beta.worldofwarcraft.com. These forums are viewable by the public, but only members of the beta test can create posts and threads. Although we're unable to respond to all posts, developers do monitor the forums for feedback.
Contact Info, Known Issues, Downtimes, and FAQs
Whom do I ask for help?
If you experience issues downloading or installing the beta or any patches, connecting to the game, or any problems with video or sound, game lockups, crashes, or other technical issues, send an email to email@example.com. Support is also offered via the beta forum at http://beta.worldofwarcraft.com.
Billing & Account Services
For problems with upgrading a retail account to a beta test account, password problems, or issues related to your account-upgrade key, please email our Billing & Account Services department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any type of in-game difficulty, such as getting stuck in terrain or problems retrieving a corpse, petition our game masters. You may do so in game by clicking the red question mark icon located in the center of the action bar at the bottom of the screen.
Why doesn't my password change immediately?
Account updates are done during hardware maintenance on Mondays between 12pm and 4pm PDT.
Please note that account updates include password changes, so if you change your retail password, it won't be updated for the beta test realms until after the next account update takes place. This means that if you update your retail password, you should continue using your "old" password to access the beta test realms until the weekly hardware maintenance has occurred.
Important! During the update time, you will be unable to log in to the beta test realms. Accounts that are already online should not be affected.
How many characters can I copy to the beta test realms?
You may copy 4 characters to the test realms (it is possible to copy the same character more than once). Outland is only open to characters of level 55 and higher, so be careful picking which characters you want to copy.
Can I replace characters I've deleted from the beta test realms with additional characters?
Once 4 characters have been copied to the beta test realms, no more characters can be copied over, even if you delete any of the characters that you originally copied over or accidentally copy over the same character more than once.
Why do I have to rename the character that I am moving to the beta test realm?
We are requiring a character name change in order to allow those developers with known characters to remain anonymous on the test realms.
Known Installation issues
You must install this expansion beta over an installed retail version of World of Warcraft. Furthermore, the language version of the expansion beta that you install must match that of your retail World of Warcraft installation. For example, you cannot install a French version of the expansion beta over a US English version of the game.
Make sure you run the retail version of World of Warcraft at least once before you attempt to install the Burning Crusade beta.
Thank you again for your participation in the Burning Crusade beta test; we'll see you in Outland!
The important thing to remember is that a email scammer might duplicate this email exactly, but it will not be directing you towards blizzard.com or worldofwarcraft.com sites and references. And further, all beta announcements will come from Blizzard first (we'll also carry the news here as soon as we get it, and maybe even a little before if we can).