List of email scams
Email scam is an unsolicited email that claims the prospect of a bargain or something for nothing. Some scam messages ask for business, others invite victims to a website with a detailed pitch. Many individuals have lost their life savings due to this type of fraud. Email scam is a form of email fraud.
- Advance-fee fraud: Among the variations on this type of scam, are the Nigerian Letter also called the 419 fraud, Nigerian scam, Nigerian bank scam, or Nigerian money offer. The Nigerian Senate emblem is sometimes used in this scam.
- El Gordo de la Primitiva Lottery International Promotions Programmes: The intended victim is often told their name or email address was selected through a random computer ballot and sponsored by a marketing company. In order to claim their so-called winnings, the victim is asked to provide their bank account details and other personal information. The victim is asked to contact the claims agent or award department.
- FBI email: Claim to be an “official order” from the FBI’s Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division, from an alleged FBI unit in Nigeria, confirm an inheritance, or contain a lottery notification, all informing recipients they have been named the beneficiary of millions of dollars.
- Hitman: An email is sent to the victim's inbox, supposedly from a hitman who has been hired by a "close friend" of the recipient to kill him or her but will call off the hit in exchange for a large sum of money. This is usually backed up with a warning local police or FBI, or the "hitman" will be forced to go through with the plan. This is less an advance-fee fraud and more outright extortion, but a reward can sometimes be offered in the form of the "hitman" offering to kill the man who ordered the original hit on the victim.
- Investment Schemes: Emails touting investments that promise high rates of return with little or no risk. One version seeks investors to help form an offshore bank. The Fifth Third Bank brand, name, and logo have been frequently exploited in this scam. The computer security company McAfee reports that, at the beginning of September 2006, over 33% of phishing scam emails being reported to McAfee were using Fifth Third Bank's brand.
- Online dating scam: Usually this scam begins at an online dating site, and is quickly moved to personal email, online chat room, or social media site. Once off the dating site, the perpetrator will usually try to steer the conversation to something sexual in nature. Not long after the victim will receive an email indicating that their name, picture, and phone number have been posted on a site where they are named a cheater. The option to view the site is given for a small fee. The option to have the pictures and transcript removed from the site for a larger fee is also given. There are no reports from the FBI however, that indicate that the records are actually removed once payment has been made.
- Phishing: Typically carried out by email or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one.
- Romance scam: Occurs when strangers pretend romantic intentions, gain the affection of victims, and then use that goodwill to gain access to their victims' money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, and/or national identification numbers or by getting the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.
- Translation/Marriage Agency scam: Pretending to be translation agency or marriage agency, they do not actually translate emails nor connect to real brides, but fabricate emails and create fake profiles on dating sites. They can use pictures of real people from other websites. Typically they are aimed for foreign men looking for brides from CIS. When a victim is engaged, they ask for communication expenses such as translations, voice phone calls, video calls, "agency fees". They impersonate the brides instead of providing a matchmaking service to them. The real ladies may not be aware that someone is using their identity.
- Secret Shopper: The intended victim is solicited via email to work as a 'Secret Shopper', often after the victim's resume has been posted at a job search site. Once engaged, the victim is sent a counterfeit check along with instructions and forms for work as a secret shopper. The provided instructions typically are to make several small transactions at nearby businesses, recording their experience on an official looking form. Universally is the instruction for the victim to also create a significant wire transfer, with a request to rate the experience. The counterfeit check is cashed at the unsuspecting victim's financial institution in order to accomplish the listed tasks.
- Traffic ticket spam: Fraudulent emails claiming the recipient had been issued a traffic ticket. The spam, which spoofed a nyc.gov email address, claimed to be from the New York State Police (NYSP).
- Word of Mouth: This email spam state that an anonymous person posted a secret about the recipient and that he needs to pay a fee in order to see the message.
- Job Scams: The victim is seeking a job and posts a resume on any internet job site. The scammer spots the resume and sends the victim an email claiming to be a legitimate job listing service, and claiming to have a client who is looking for an employee with their skills and experience. The victim is invited to click on a link to apply for the job. Clicking the link takes the victim to a job description specifically written for the skills and experience on the victim's resume, and provides a very high salary, and invites them to "click here" to apply for the job. If the victim clicks on that "apply" link, they are taken to an "application" form that asks for the normal job application information, PLUS the victim's social security number, date of birth, the name of the bank and account number where they will want their paycheck to be deposited to, a "relative" reference, etc. With this information, the scammer can open up a bank account in any on-line bank and utilize the victim's credit to buy items online and ship them to associates who are in on the scam.
- "E-mail scam victim counts his losses. BBC". BBC News. 2004-03-02. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
- "New E-Scams & Warnings. FBI". Fbi.gov. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
- "Hitman Bribe Scam". snopes.com. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
- "Top 10 Phish Scams". McAfee. 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
- "15 Signs that You’re a Victim of an Online Dating Scam! Who Will Be Taken Hostage Next?". CupidDatingGuide.com. 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- "Internet Crime Complaint Center's Scam Alerts". IC3.gov. 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- "Internet Crime Complaint Center's (IC3) - Scam Alerts". ic3.gov. October 17, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2011.