The volume of spam that is sent out every minute of the day has reached pandemic proportions. The simple reason for this is because the cost to a spammer ranges from zero to negligible. In fact, anyone with a list of email addresses and Internet access can spam thousands, even millions of people with a single click of the mouse. The cost of spam, however, now runs in the millions. |
Below are some popular email scams on the internet today:
"Phishing" is a high-tech scam that uses spam or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or any other kind of confidential personal information. Identity theft is the goal of this scam.
The phisher sends you a fraudulent email that is designed to look like it was sent from a reputable company. The email directs you to a website that looks like it belongs to the reputable company, but is actually a spoof. You are asked to "update" your information here, and if you do, all that personal information goes straight to the phisher. uses this information for identity theft purposes such as making withdrawals from your bank and credit card accounts, ordering new credit cards which they promptly max out, etc.
Some of the most recent phishing attacks have spoofed the email and websites of well known companies, including eBa, Paypal, Yahoo, Pfizer, Bank of America, among others.
These are some of the more tempting spam scams. They offer those who need to make extra money the opportunity to do so, and invariably the email will state: "no experience necessary." The scammer often claims to have "inside information," and tries to bait you with the lure of quick money for next to no effort. More often than not, you are asked to pay anywhere from $35 to several hundred dollars to purchase the kits or materials that will not earn you a dime.
This scam often offers opportunities involving handicrafts, stuffing envelopes or medical billing on your home PC. If you fall for this scam, pay the fees for the handicraft or envelop-stuffing "kit," and complete the assembly of the crafts as instructed, you will be informed that your work is of poor quality and not worth paying for.
If you sign up for the medical billing "opportunity," you will be asked to purchase a list of doctors. These doctors are either fictional or do not want or need your services and never did.
Credit Repair Scams:
These scams tell promise to erase real and usually correct negative information that has been added to you credit report, so that you can qualify for loans, mortgages, unsecured credit cards, etc.
These services rarely deliver on their promise, and more often than not, will create a great many more problems in the long run. They have even been know to suggest that you commit fraud e.g. falsifying your social security number. Guaranteed loans on easy terms:
Some email scams offer guaranteed, unsecured credit, such as a home-equity loans that does not require equity in your home, or credit cards regardless of your credit history. This offer of credit is often extended by an off-shore bank.
This scam is often executed in conjunction with a pyramid scheme, which will encourage you to make earn money by signing up friends and family to participate in the scheme.
The promised offer of a home equity loans turns out to be a useless list of lenders who will turn you down if you don't meet their qualifications. The promised credit cards never come through, and the pyramid money-making schemes invariably collapse.
The spam email directs you to send a small amount of money to each of 4 or 5 names on a list, add your name to the top of the list and remove the last name on it, and then forward the updated list via bulk mail. Typically, the letter will claim the scheme is legal, and may refer to sections of US law as supporting proof of this. Not true.
These chain letters are almost always illegal, and nearly all those who participate in them lose their money.
What are the Consequences?
If you fall prey to the scam and unwittingly divulge private information, you will be left vulnerable to identity theft, credit card fraud and other financial mishaps.
These identity thieves will either sell the information to fellow criminals, or use it for their own financial gain. This vital personal data will be used, for example, to set up fraudulent online bill pay, with payments made out to the phisher. They may use it to access funds from your bank accounts and credit cards and transfer them to their own checking accounts. They may even use a copy of your bank or credit card along with the phished PIN to withdraw cash from your accounts at any ATM.
Phishing is a numbers game for these criminal spammers. They will send out their phishing email to millions of recipients. They count on just a few falling for the scam and volunteering their information: if a mere 1% of recipients volunteer their personal information, the phishing expedition will be a hughly lucrative. It is these few who make their scam worthwhile.
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Copyright © Anne-Marie Ronsen
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