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Steps to Protect Yourself from Email Scams.
Email scam or Email fraud originated as soon as email communication became popular, with the rapid spread of personal computers, in the Eighties. Since then, Email scam has transformed into a billion dollar crime industry, scything through the feeble defense of naïve internet users, often robbing them of their entire life savings. The ease of sending emails to massive number of people, at minimal or no costs, has helped the underground industry thrive.
Though the scam operates with hundreds of email variants, primarily the content seek to entice potential victims to respond, to receive large sums of money, huge discounts, well paid job or to participate in “get rich quick” schemes. The victim who responds is defrauded by various methods:
- forced to make payment of a variety of fees
- forced to divulge personal info
- forced to divulge bank / credit card details
- forced to act as money mule to transfer scam money to the crooks
- forced into being agent of “work online” scams & illegal MLM Schemes
- trapped into illegal activities like Ad Clicking
The emails could talk of Sweepstake Winning, Free Gift Cards, Free Cruise, Timeshare, Inheritance, Seek a Partner in Crime, Attractive Job Offers, Unbelievable Investment plans, Easy Money Making Operations and Fake Emotional Appeals to send money for charity or to a relative / friend who is stranded abroad.
It’s a common practice to spoof email address to make it look, as if its coming from someone else. For example, cyber criminals recently used mail id email@example.com to make victims believe that the email is from Coca Cola.
Though its popularly believed that the email scam victims are mostly from the third world, the fact is otherwise. The money lost by people in Western countries; far exceed the loss of their cousins, in the third world.
According to online news channel abc27.com, recently, a Lebanon County (USA) woman lost $100,000 in a sweepstakes scam that promised her $11 Million and a brand new BMW Car.
According to Patch.com, an individual in Palos Heights was scammed $172,000 in a lottery scam while a person in Arlington lost $53,000 after he was convinced by emails that he had won a $750,000 Nokia Lottery.
Steps to Protect Yourself from Email Scam
- Never respond to any unsolicited mails
- Never click a link or download document in an unsolicited mail
- Delete all unsolicited Lottery Winning and Fund Transfer Mails
- Delete all unsolicited Free Rewards / Gift Coupon Mails
- Be alert that the FROM mail ID could have been SPOOFED to make it look like that of a trusted known entity. For example firstname.lastname@example.org The mail would have the logo of the trusted site and would want you to click links. If you observe the URL of the link without clicking it (by hovering curser over the link), you would be able to figure out that the link will take you to a scam website.
- Be alert that cyber thieves create website names which are variations of your trusted websites to make you visit them
- Never pay money for any service unless you have verified the service provider, his mail id, address, phone numbers on the net. Look for complaints, reviews and user comments related to these.
Report phone numbers in scam emails at Scamcallfighters.com, to spread word about scammers, among the internet user community.
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