Nearly every single time I check my email, I will see some sort of email scam or internet fraud scheme. Some of these scam emails are obviously fake, whereas others sometimes look quite real.
While many believe that email scams are something they would never fall for, they do exist for a reason.
Someone must be falling for them.
Someone must be losing money to them or scammers wouldn't be attempting to steal money and/or identities in the first place.
In fact, according to Ultrascan AGI, nearly $13 billion was taken from individuals just from the well-known Nigerian scam emails in 2013 alone. There are many other internet fraud schemes out there as well that account for billions more.
While I have never lost money to an email scam, I did almost fall for one around five years ago (see #3 below). I also witnessed many scam emails when we were trying to find a rental home recently, which you can read in my post Craigslist Scams I Encountered When Looking For A Rental Plus Real Scam Emails.
Below are several different scam emails that many are currently falling for. Continue reading at the end to learn about how to not become a victim of internet fraud as well.
1. The 419 email scam.
The most well-known internet fraud scheme is most likely the 419 email scam. Even though many know about this scam, people still fall for this scam each and every single day.
With the 419 email scam, a victim will usually receive an email from a stranger who is a prince, a government worker, or someone else. The scammer then states that their money is currently “stuck” somewhere and they need money transferred to them so that they can gain access to their money (or something else similar to that story). The scammer then offers their victim money in return for “helping them out.”
Sadly, many fall for the 419 email scam. Victims usually give up money of their own as well as their identity, and receive nothing in return.
If you receive an email from someone claiming to be a foreign prince or something similar, just delete the email immediately. No prince is going to email you, no matter how interesting that sounds.
2. The lottery scam.
Oh, the lottery scam… Rarely a week goes by where I don't “win” $100,000,000.
If only these emails were real!
The lottery email scam is when a scammer sends an email stating that you have won the lottery. They just need you to pay money upfront before you can claim your lottery winnings. They also may say that they are required to get your personal information.
You know that the lottery email is pure internet fraud because you most likely never even entered to win a foreign lottery. Lotteries also never ask for you to pay for fees, so that is another clue. Plus, what's the chance that you've won the lottery anyways?
3. The job scam.
When I was in college, I tried finding a nanny job on the side of my full-time job so that I could earn extra money.
For one person, we had several chats over email. They offered to pay me well, but then I received an email asking for a ton of information that I knew they did not need. They asked for my social security number, my bank account information, and more.
I thought that was very odd. We had never met, the interview process was too easy, and there was no reason for them to need the information as well. They offered to pay me more and more money as long as I would give them my personal information. Once I called them out on their email scam, I never heard back from them…
The job scam is when you apply for a job and then the hiring manager tells you that you have it with little effort required from you. There are no interviews (or the interviews are very easy), the job supposedly pays well, has great benefits, and so on.
That's when they get you. They then ask for a ton of personal information they say is needed so that they can fill out your employee paperwork, set up direct deposit, and so on. While many jobs do need certain information, if you easily get a job that seems too good to be true then you should be very wary of any information that you give to them. At least talk to the person and do your research on whether or not the position is real.
4. The PayPal scam.
The PayPal scam is something I receive almost every day. Since I deal with PayPal for my business all the time, these are the type of scams I truly hate. They also seem to be appearing more and more authentic, so I'm sure there are plenty of people falling for PayPal email scams.
The PayPal email scam is when you receive an email from someone who is claiming to be PayPal. The email usually states that your PayPal account is frozen, that something is wrong, and so on. They then ask you to click on a link in the email which will supposedly take you to PayPal's website.
Except, the link isn't actually to PayPal's website. It's usually to a website that looks VERY much like PayPal's website. However, it's actually a scammer who is trying to get your username and password so that they can drain your PayPal account.
There are ways to protect yourself against the PayPal scam though:
- You should never click on a link that you are questioning. Instead, head on over to PayPal yourself and log in.
- Check the sender's email. In some cases, scammers may cloak the email address so it may actually look like it's coming straight from PayPal, so this may not be enough. However, most of the time the email address is something obviously fake, so that is usually your first clue.
How to not be a victim of internet fraud and scam emails.
Even though many fall victim to internet fraud every day, there are many ways to not be next. Below are my tips to stay safe online:
- If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Keep your personal information safe and do not give it away unless you are 100% sure that it is needed.
- Don't trust the sender's email address. If it seems fishy at all, the email may be cloaked in order to trick you.
- Are there any misspellings in the email? There is almost at least one misspelled word in an email scam. If you see one, then I would be very wary of an email from your bank, PayPal, etc. as that is usually a big hint that the email is fake.
- Never click on any links or download anything in a suspicious email.
- Always be sure that it's not an email scam before you send anyone money.
Have you ever fallen for scam emails? Do you know anyone who has been a victim of internet fraud?
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