There are numerous ways to be scammed nowadays. Pyramid schemes, ‘too good to be true’ investments and of course the good old internet. There are literally millions of websites that will gladly take your money, personal info, bank details and a host of other things from you and then skedaddle.
Today, I’m going to talk about the top 5 email scams that litter inboxes all over the world.
Now, given the fact that 90% of e-mails sent world wide can be regarded as spam, undoubtedly a large proportion of that spam will be scams trying to get your hard earned money. Fortunately, given the huge amount of inactive email accounts most of this spam will go unopened and will lie dormant forever.
But some of it is opened in offices, schools and homes all over the world. They deceive you into thinking they are something they are not. Here are five email scams you should watch out for.
When opening a bank account of any kind you are informed beyond any doubt that the bank will never, ever, send you an e-mail asking for your information. Why would they? They already have it. But millions of people still reply to e-mails asking for just that. These e-mails will normally have a professional layout and will have originated from a domain very similar to the banks in the hope that when you see the e-mail address you assume it is from the bank.
Popular ones include telling you your bank card is about to expire and they need your information or there is a sum of money on the way to you and they need your information to process the transaction. Don’t believe a word. They want your details to rob you of every cent you have.
Ever got a poorly written e-mail from a bank manager in Africa (or just about anywhere else for that matter) telling you that a rich guy died along with all his family in a plane crash and he wants to transfer money to your account? These kinds of email scams are called “419 emails” or Nigerian scams.
If you reply and begin talking to them they will shower you in promises and may even up the amount of money you’re going to get. Then, before the transfer can be made they’ll ask you for a few thousands dollars to cover their expenses. More like their holiday next summer.
Phishing Email Scam
These e-mails will often appear to come from sites you actually use, such as PayPal. If they find your profile they send you an e-mail that looks exactly like one from the site. They will redirect you to a bogus site which, once again looks just like the actual website. Once you sign in all of your info will go straight to them meaning they can do what they wish with your money.
Many people who want to scam you will create programs and spy applications that will send them your bank details as soon as you use any online monetary service. They normally skulk around in the attachments of e-mails. Many scammers will find a funny picture or video and will send it to as many people as they can.
They are getting into the mindset of your typical office worker who will forward the e-mail to all his/her family, friends and co-workers. When these email scams are successful, scammers can often retrieve thousands of peoples details. Think about it. If they send it to one person who then sends it to thirty, each of these people will again send it to all their contacts. Hundreds of peoples’ details all in a very short space of time.
Lottery Email Scams
These have a low forward rate and as such require a lot of work by the low tech scammers. They will tell you that you have won a substantial amount of money in an e-mail address raffle or something similar. They tell you that you must reply to the e-mail, just like the inheritance e-mails.
Eventually, you will be asked for a few thousand dollars to cover fees. Don’t fall for it. This is the real world and you don’t just win a $3 million prize in a raffle you never entered.
My advice to combat the above e-mails which are very popular comes in two forms:
- Be aware that any e-mail asking you for any information such as account numbers, passwords or account verification long after you signed up is fraudulent. Legitimate companies will almost never contact you to ask for such information.
- Install protection software such as Norton 360 3.0, McAfee Security, or Avast! Professional. They can be costly but so can having your bank account drained. Remember: you get what you pay for, so when it comes to security and protection, get the best that there is, not the free stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, a few free programs are as good as the paid versions, but for the very best protection possible, choose one of the above paid products.