It seems we have heard enough about common email scams, but I feel compelled to talk more about it. Scams will continue to exist, because there is market for them. If no one was buying into them, the amount of scam would most likely be reduced.
Today, I am getting more scam emails than I was a year ago. My email service automatically sends those emails to a spam box, but some still come though to my “Inbox”. They are so annoying! For a while, I had my spam filtering system to delete all spam emails automatically, but since I started my blog www.identitytheftmanifesto.com, I decided to accept them and keep my own statistics for educational purposes. There plenty of scams out there; here are the most common ones I come across on daily basis:
The “Nigerian” Email Scam
The scammers usually claim to be governmental officials, or businesspeople, or receivers of inheritance and claims that somehow the funds are tied up at the moment. The scammers promise to transfer huge amounts of money if you pay for “taxes”, “transfer fees” or “legal fees”.
If you are silly enough to respond to one of those emails, you may be asked to provide your personal information, such as your name, address, DOB, your banking account and address, etc. They may even suggest you visit their country to complete the transaction, which you should NEVER do. There are cases where the victims of this scam have been beaten, harassed, taken ransom and in some instances, murdered.
Not only you are at risk of losing your hard earned money if you respond to this scam, but you may be subjected to becoming an Identity Theft Victim.
The most famous Nigeria Scam victim is Janella Spears, a nursing administrator and CPR teacher. In 2008, she was scammed out of $400,000 in hopes of receiving $20.5million promised in one of the emails she received. Although she was urged by the family and friends to stop giving the money and warned by the FBI of the scam, Ms. Spears kept sending more money. Please do not be so gullible! Read Post “Nigerian Conman Arrested for an Internet Fraud”.
Phishing (pronounced: fishing)
The Phishing scam emails sent out in order to lure in the victims to give out their financial information and/or account login information
The scammers send out emails claiming to be from an official entity you may be dealing with, such as a bank, credit card account, PayPal, Ebay, etc. The message is “urgent” and usually calls for an update of account information, or resetting a password because someone made attempts to log in without authorization, etc.
You are instructed to follow a provided link that takes you to a website that looks legitimate. These emails are bogus and are made to simply trick you to giving out your personal information so the scammers can take money out of your bank account, commit crimes in your name, sell your information, fake your identity, etc.
You should always remember that a legitimate entity will never send out emails of this nature. Make it a habit to never respond to any emails requesting your personal information; never click on any links provided as they may contain viruses. If you are alarmed by one of this emails and are concerned about your bank account, contact your bank via phone number provided on a legitimate statement or by going to your bank’s website by typing in their website address into a browser.
Make sure to keep your anti-virus software current at all times. Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 keeps your PC free from malicious code, adware, spyware, hacker attacks, spam and network fraud.
You have won! Isn’t it lovely? Just provide your personal information, send a wire transfer for “taxes”, “conversion fees”, “custom fees”, etc. and provide them with your banking information. And Bam! The “jackpot” is yours.
Any money you send will be kept by the scammers. In addition, any other information you provide the scammers with, will be used for making additional withdrawals from your bank account, sold on the black market and used to fake your identity. So, be very careful and never open those types of emails and simply skip these “wonderful” too-good-to-be-true offers.
The scammers are smart and always come up with new ideas and new variations for old scams. But you are smarter: do not open any of them, just forward an email to the FTC at email@example.com, hit delete button, and go on with your day. Put the scammers out of work!