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Examples of Common Email Scams
Most email scams end up involving requests to send money, cash checks, establish business relationships or requests for information. Here are some examples.
There is no deceased official and no funds available to be transferred. The scam appeals to an individual's greed and a willingness to skirt foreign laws. Over the years, the deceased individual has been described as a minister of mining or natural resources, successful business owners and royalty. The locations have also changed over time.
Canadian, South African, Netherlands, United Kingdom, "You Name It" Lottery
There are several things that should make one very suspicious:
Check Cashing Schemes
This scam is usually promoted through emails but may also be found on job listing sites. The original check and the scam artist are usually from overseas, but not always.
The check may look real, but in reality, there is no account or the account has insufficient funds to cover the check. Because of the way check clearing works, funds are probably available to be transferred out before the incoming check has actually cleared. In this scam, the victim wires the $9,000 to the thief and a couple of days later receives word that the check he received has bounced. The result is a loss of $9,000.
The email directs the recipient to a website that may look legitimate but is a faked or spoofed site. Once there, the person will be requested to provide various personal information such as Social Security number, credit card number or account information so the refund can be directly deposited.
Providing this information is dangerous. Once in the hands of a fraudster, it can lead to credit card fraud, unauthorized access to your financial accounts or identity theft.
The IRS and most state taxing authorities do not use email to correspond about refunds. Commercial establishments may use email but you should be very wary of emails like this. Before providing the information online, contact the establishment by phone to make sure the request for information is legitimate.
Financial Account Confirmation Scams
The recipient is usually directed to website that may look real, but is not. The information requested may include account numbers, user names, access codes and passwords. All of this information is dangerous in the hands of scam artists.
Financial institutions never ask for this type of information. If you receive this type of phishing email, contact your institution.