Scams are by no means a new thing; they’ve been around forever, but since the rise of the internet, criminals and con-artists have a new and powerful tool to help them get their hands on more cash. Many of us receive multiple emails per day from various friends, websites and organisation, and sometimes this can provide the perfect cover for criminals to slip in a scam email. Here are some common examples:
- Money Transfer Scheme: the most famous example of this scam is a version which claims to be from a wealthy family in Nigeria. Typically this scam offers incredible amounts of money to the person who will help them transfer their wealth out of the country. People who fall victim to this con end up paying supposed legal and transfer fees, but never see a penny of their promised riches.
- You’re a Winner: if you haven’t bought a lottery ticket or entered a competition for a fabulous cruise, then in all likelihood you’re not the winner these emails claim you are. This scam preys on the fact that everyone wants a little luck out of the blue. You will either be asked to pay a “processing fee” or find a dozen hidden charges if you try to collect.
- Disaster Relief: sadly, there are certain individuals who will try to capitalize from tragic events such as Hurricane Katrina or the Haitian earthquake. If you receive an email asking for donations, do not under any circumstances give your name or bank details. Call your charity of choice or check their website to be safe.
The best way to avoid being conned by these or any other scams is to always keep your wits about you and use your common sense. If in doubt, it is always safer to do a quick search to see whether anyone else has received similar emails.