Many email scams are "tried and true". They've been around for a long time and continue to produce the results cyber criminals are looking for. They're becoming savvier, too – using spoofing to make the email look as legitimate as possible – and confusing recipients into opening them.
Here are a few current email phishing scams:
- Recruitment Scams. The fraudster sends you an email with an enticing job offer, but asks for money and personal information up front. These scams are sophisticated and targeted. The email, content and associated websites look legitimate, and may relate to your line of work but they are fake and just an attempt to steal your money and/or your personal information.
- Fake business opportunities. If you receive an email with an opportunity to make lots of money with very little effort, or there are very few details about the actual business, there's a good chance it's a scam. The objective is to get you to purchase an information kit to find out more about the job. Or to involve your friends and create a pyramid scheme in which "everyone wins".
- Lottery wins and prizing or "Jackpot" scams. If you're asked to provide credit card information to claim your prize or pay for shipping, be wary of the source. Also, if you haven't entered that contest, you likely haven't won anything.
- Health and diet scams. The promise of a "magic" diet pill or quick weight loss can be tempting enough for some people to click on a link and see what it's about. If you see the words "quick" and "discount" in the same email, it's likely too good to be true.
- Discount software. Any type of software download that's offered at a reduced price by an unknown source is generally not legitimate. The software is likely pirated and comes with a Trojan horse or you may never even receive it.
- 419 Advanced Fee Fraud. These schemes offer an enormous sum of cash should you get involved. They are quite elaborate, providing false documents to give the appearance of a legitimate business proposal and even inviting you to meetings in their country. At some point you'll be asked for money to pay for fees or other expenditures – and then all communication will be cut off.
- 'Pump 'n' dump' stock scams. These are spam emails from an "investor" with inside information, claiming that a certain stock is about to become very profitable. This will then drive up the price of the stock, at which point the individuals behind the scheme sell – and the price plummets.
Find out more about contest scams.
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