Common SPAM Scams

Watch Out for Email Scams

Despite a recent decrease in spam, there are nearly 40 billion spam emails sent every day. From offers to earn quick cash while working for home, to promises of 30 lbs. dropped in 10 days, most of the time spam is seen as a nuisance and quickly discarded. Unfortunately, spam can be more than just unsolicited email; it can often contain viruses and other malicious spyware.

These viruses can come in the form of an attachment within the email or a link in email. Once the user opens the attachment or clicks on the link, a virus can be downloaded on their computer. To help guard yourself from potential threats, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some of the most common email scams.

The "Nigerian" Email Scam:- Con artists claim to be officials, businesspeople, or the surviving spouses of former government officials in another country, whose money is somehow tied up for a limited time. They offer to transfer a large sum of money into your bank account if you will pay a fee or "taxes" to help them access their money. Then they ask you to send money to cover transaction and transfer costs and attorney's fees, as well as your bank account numbers, or other information.

Work-at-Home Scams:- Advertisements that promise steady income for minimal labor – in medical claims processing, envelope-stuffing, craft assembly work, or other jobs. The ads use similar come-ons: Fast cash. Minimal work. No risk. And the advantage of working from home when it's convenient for you.

Weight Loss Claims: Emails promising a revolutionary pill, patch, cream, or other product that will result in weight loss without diet or exercise.

Foreign Lotteries: Emails boasting enticing odds in foreign lotteries. You may even get a message claiming you've already won! You just have to pay to get your prize or collect your winnings.

Debt Relief: Emails touting a way you can consolidate your bills into one monthly payment without borrowing; stop credit harassment, foreclosures, repossessions, tax levies and garnishments; or wipe out your debts. 

Check Overpayment Scams: A response to your ad or online auction posting, offering to pay with a cashier's, personal, or corporate check. At the last minute, the so-called buyer (or the buyer's "agent") comes up with a reason for writing the check for more than the purchase price, and asks you to wire back the difference after you deposit the check.

If you find yourself with a suspicious email in your inbox, the best thing you can do is discard it immediately. If you think you may have responded to an email that may be a scam:

  • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
  • Then visit the FTC's identity theft website at ftc.gov/idtheft. While you can't completely control whether you will become a victim of identity theft, you can take some steps to minimize your risk.