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Avoid Common Scam Emails to Keep Your Identity Safe

Email ScamYou’re careful not to walk through deserted streets alone at night, but you probably spend far less time considering how to protect yourself when you’re online. Each time you open your inbox, you’re at risk for cyber crime. In 2012, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received nearly 300,000 complaints from American consumers who lost a total of $525 million due to cyber crime. Many of these complaints were due to phishing attacks involving falsified emails.

Emails From an Old Friend

With the easy availability of your friends’ names from Facebook, some scams may contain personalized information to make it seem legit. For example, California Polytechnic Institute reported that members of its community received emails stating that an old friend wanted to reconnect, encouraging recipients to click a link embedded in the message. If you receive an email on behalf of an old friend, be wary of clicking any links. Instead, reach out to the person by initiating your own email to their last known address or reconnecting on Facebook. Friends who are legitimately trying to get in touch with you are unlikely to do so through a third-party application.

Ransom Scams

After visiting a malicious website or opening an email attachment from an unknown sender, your computer may be infected with a type of software called “ransomware”, as Microsoft.com explains. In one version of this scam, you may receive an on-screen warning of violation of U.S. federal law with an email stating that your IP address was implicated in procurement of child pornography or other illegal materials. The email states that to avoid prosecution, you must immediately pay a fine to the U.S. Department of Justice. Email users should be aware that the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice, CIA, and other federal agencies never send unsolicited emails or hijack your browser.

If you receive such a message, delete it immediately and file a complaint with the FBI’s IC3. It’s also a smart idea to invest in an identity protection service such as LifeLock, which monitors your credit score and alerts you to any unauthorized charges to your bank account.

Ticket Scams

Perhaps you’ve been looking to score some concert tickets on Craigslist, reaching out to several individuals offering rock-bottom prices. Beware of the email responses you get. One common email scam includes posting lucrative offers on Craigslist and requiring would-be customers to send a wire transfer to addresses in the area. However, the tickets never materialize. Whenever you’re purchasing something through Craigslist, arrange to meet in person to make a transfer. According to Consumerist, it’s wise to avoid purchasing tickets or other easily counterfeited goods through peer-to-peer sales systems. Instead, search Ticketmaster, StubHub, or another official ticket exchange.

A More Sophisticated Nigerian Scam

Most savvy Internet users know to steer clear of poorly worded emails littered with misspellings stating that you’ve won the Nigerian lottery, and that you’ll gain millions if you’ll just send an advance fee to a particular address. However, these scams have become more sophisticated in recent years.

Perhaps you’re a member of Homeaway, AirBnB, or another popular vacation rental site. Imagine you get an email from a British student planning to visit your city for two weeks. She is very interested in your property and immediately sends you the requisite funds by check or money order. The next day, however, you get a panicked email stating that she miscalculated the exchange rate and accidentally sent several hundred dollars too much. You kindly agree to wire her the difference from your own money. Your wire transfer goes through immediately, and you don’t realize that her check failed to clear until several days later. To avoid these scams, never agree to wire money to anyone abroad. Simply destroy the check or money order and ask the person to send it again.

Author: Kyle Iverson – Kyle is a business marketing grad from the East coast who spends his time writing about social demographics and going to trade shows.

by Bivori Contributor

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34 comments… add one

  1. thanks for sharing such an useful information….
    I am not aware og such kind of scam activities.You have done a great job…
    thanks for sharing it…
    vishu sachdeva recently posted…Top 5 Online Backup Solutions:”To Safe your Data Online”My Profile

    1. Vishu,
      Many were successful even to tempt the recipient and snatch money out from them.
      Thanks for commenting here.

      1. it will always find useful information on your site…thanks for this…
        i will also share this post in my circle too….
        keep sharing..and happy blogging…:)
        vishu sachdeva recently posted…Common Sign of Computer Virus Infection:”Need a Look”My Profile

  2. Great article …
    I also receives this type of email but I never give time after that .I directly moved it to spam.
    Charmin Patel recently posted…GIVEAWAY! ALL GENESIS CHILD THEMES + GENESIS FRAMEWORK 2.0.1 TILL NOVEMBER 2013My Profile

    1. That’s the best thing anybody could do. Love you commenting here

  3. Hello Suresh,
    I do receive scam mails regularly but the thing is, i don’t open links that i don’t know off. And i certainly don’t respond to email that looks fishy. i have also enabled the anti fishing mail on my email so for now, i don’t get such message.
    Thanks for the heads up. Do have a wonderful week ahead…
    Babanature recently posted…My Top 5 Google Adsense Alternatives You’re Going To LoveMy Profile

    1. That’s so nice, Babanature. BTW, which email software you are using and what is the anti fishing plugin available?

  4. I wonder how these scammers get people email addresses. It appears I always win the lottery. hahaha!

    I mostly receive such kinds of spam messages and also emails telling you to verify your email account or paypal accounts. These guys are not serious!

    It was worse when I was on yahoomail. Gmail goes to the extra mile telling you not to even open such messages.

    Hi Kyle, thanks for bringing this up.
    Emmanuel recently posted…No Blogger can make you RicherMy Profile

    1. Was that UK National Lottery? Hahaaaa..
      Yes, Emmanuel, Gmail has done much more good but still, it depends on receiver how safe he can be.

  5. Yes, I get at least 4-5 spam mails like these- You won £100000 lottery! click this link and verify you are a valid person to get paid though your credit card. Many people victims for these types of spam.Google almost filter these kinds of spam. However we need to extra careful. Thanks for the informative post!
    Sriram recently posted…How to Write Stunning Comments to Gain Attention: A guide for DummiesMy Profile

    1. You definitely got UK National Lottery, Sriram, hahaaaa….
      I’ve seen a few cases here who approached to ministry to help them to bring money in country. Alas! the innocent people.

  6. I’m amazed with such type of scams online :O

    We need to be more careful to protect ourselves from such scams. As Sriram said, I also got many scam emails daily and thanks to Gmail to filter out them :D
    Ankit Kumar Singla recently posted…The Concise Art of Crafting A Conversational ArticleMy Profile

    1. I always believe in two things:
      You can never win any lottery without buying the tickets
      You never get money without doing anything

      Most of the victims I’ve seen violated any of these two truth. The ultimate result is nothing but to loose their own money, privacy or invite other catastrophes.

      Thank you Ankit for commenting here.

  7. hello suresh. i still remember the first time i opened an email. (early 2000s) and i received a hoax email stating that he needs my help to open an account in our country under my name and he will send me the cash worth 100,000 dollars. he claims he is from sierra leone.

    but i found email as a scam cause no sane person would ever dare to send that huge money to a stranger. the email has a link. if i am interested, i can click the link. good thing i did not click it.
    until now, i still received hoax emails but in different forms. thanks to spam folder because they are automatically sent to where they belong–spam

    1. Yes Marilyn, there are many emails pretending to be the wife of some ex-official and needs to transfer money. What a trap for greedy hearts :)

      Similarly, there are not less about the charity emails too! Trying to get rich quicker, and many others as well.

      We need to be careful and protect ourselves.

  8. Scam emails is a common thing these days and it has spread to social media, i receive such emails every now and then and i believe only the greedy will fall prey to then. how can you be asked to submit your details that you have won a lottery you know you didn’t play and you oblige?

    Thanks for the pointers though i believe scam is not tied to just one country alone, it is a worldwide scheme.
    Nwosu Desmond recently posted…Will HTML to WordPress conversion make your website SEO-friendly?My Profile

    1. That’s very true Nwosu, it’s nto tied to any one country only. As WWW spreads the whole world, everybody may be in target.

      Thank you for stopping by and your valuable feedback.

  9. Hey Kyle,

    Emails scams are most common, i get 3-4 scam emails every week, i have faced all you listed except #3, Everybody need to be careful about these scam emails. As far as lottery scam emails are concerned, i win a lottery every week :D

    Thanks for sharing :)
    Siraj Wahid recently posted…Interview with Lisa Buben of Inspire To ThriveMy Profile

    1. Hi Siraj,

      You should be the richest person in the world winning all those lotteries :D

      We, who are on web for quite some time can identify them quickly but for all those innocent people, I pity on them. They waste really huge time, effort and in some cases money too!

  10. Let us stop scammer for the work they been doing. I do get more than 100 scam a day and i don’t know even how they do get these emails.

    These articles here always make me sad since the internet uses a lot of tracking software to on its website. Every time you load a webpage, your visit is recorded and the data is sent to Facebook, Google, Twitter and over 10 different web tracking companies.
    You can get around this by using additional software on your computer, but it is not easy to stop them all.

    1. That’s true Eric, it will depend on the intelligence of each individual. We don’t have a single solution to turn them off. So spreading awareness and sharing it will help a bit.

      Thank you for the visit and commenting here.

  11. Hello Suresh sir,
    Well, the rate at which the boom in the era of our online world is pacing up, so has the vulnerability in such an interactive and virtual world has increased.
    I remember an incident of such a mail scam in which my dad’s friend got trapped. It was a mail claiming to have won some huge amount of money and upon providing some access to their bank details he lost some huge amount of money.
    Thanks for sharing such an article that can spread awareness.
    Charmie recently posted…A breakthrough: IBM to roll out an all new program SyNAPSE chips inspired by human brainMy Profile

    1. That was very bad incident , Charmine.

      Temptation was one way to loot people and recently we’ve seen some threatening like your ‘PayPal account is compromised and click the given link to resolve’.

      Always needs to check the target link and if it is different than what is displayed on mail, it must be scamming.

      Thank you for the visit and commenting here.

  12. I have been receiving spam emails since 2009, and since then I’m happily dealing with them. I personally like the Reward mails, after a few replies the send Custom Certificates and all. It looks great :-P. By the way its a dangerous stunt, please don’t try it at home, school or office.. ha ha ha
    Aditya Dey recently posted…MediaTek introduces World’s First True Octa-Core Mobile ProcessorMy Profile

    1. Hahaaaa… lottery stunts!
      You are safe as long as you’ve not revealed your bank account details or your personal information such as address :D
      However, it should not be performed without a strict guidance and supervision of teacher :D

  13. i also received scam email daily like business setup in Indai etc… ..i never respond them
    Thanx for sharing this information hope it will spread awareness .

    1. You should not respond them as long as you don’t wish some fun with stunts as Aditya mentioned above in his comment. :D

      Thank you Suraj for leaving comment.
      BTW, you’ve not enabled Gravatar for your email address? Your image is not displayed on comment.

  14. Seems to be a scary post :(
    Yeah, i used to receive many spam mails and specifically lottery mails.
    Hackers are smarter these days and they produced “Ransomware” viruses through emails.
    Am unaware of other details, thanks for the guest author for creating awareness of the spam mails.

    Nice and unique post Suresh, thanks for sharing it :)
    Nirmala recently posted…Google Plus SEO strategy and ways to improve itMy Profile

    1. Thank you Nirmala for the visit and your comment. Glad you find the post useful and interesting.

  15. I have received emails from my bank claiming that I should give the my ATM info which i just delete straight without looking. Don’t know how these scammers get the emails but i am prepared for them

    1. That’s the spirit!
      They collect email from various sources from buying bulk email addresses to applying software and scripts that collects email addresses from them. It won’t be possible to keep the email address secret, but can spread awareness to protect innocents from falling prey to them.
      Thank you Ikechi for the visit and commenting here. Hope to see you around more often.

  16. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but if people are foolish enough to send strangers money or click on links without checking them first (hover your cursor over the link) then they should not be allowed online.

    A friend of mine had his computer infected recently by a very nasty virus because he clicked on a link in an email from someone claiming to be from a bank that my friend does not have an account with!
    Dean Saliba recently posted…Is Facebook Marketing Planning To Increase Your Business?My Profile

    1. Hahaaaa….. I’m with you Dean, they don’t have the right to live! Anyway, cheating due to ignorance is really bad.

      Thanks a lot for your comment.
      Suresh Khanal recently posted…10 Best WordPress Theme Frameworks – A Quick OverviewMy Profile

  17. I hate all the spam emails I get. I hope that in the future there is a scam/spam proof tool that can be integrated into email software to automatically block this type of email. SO far, I have’t found one.
    Stuart Davidson recently posted…Do You Use Your Strongest Quality Enough In Marketing?My Profile


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