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Watch Out: 4 Classic Email Scams to Be Aware Of
As any experienced Internet user knows, online scams are an unfortunate part of the information superhighway.
The same email system which enables people to communicate and exchange information, enables cyber scammers to reach millions of potential victims easily, with a click of a button.
Here are a few common and well known email based scams that will give you a better understanding of the phenomena.
>> "The Nigerian Scam"
The Nigerian scam is one of the oldest online scams out there.
It has endless variations, but the basic principle always stays the same.
It all starts with an email, supposedly from the broken hearted widow of an extremely rich Nigerian politician (or king/ businessman/ high-ranking aristocrat – you get the idea) that needs urgent help in moving the millions she inherited out of the country quickly.
Needless to say, the intended victim is being offered gigantic sums of money in return for just a few hundreds or thousands of dollars that will be used to pay the legal fees which are required to release the funds.
>> "Congratulations! You Just Won the Lottery"
Everyone occasionally dreams of winning the lottery and living a life of luxury.
Where there's a dream – there's a crook, ready to cash in on people's naïve fantasies.
In most cases this scam comes in the form of an email that congratulates the recipient for winning millions of dollars - even though they've never bought a ticket.
According to the email, the money can be transferred instantly…. right after the winner pays several thousands of dollars – "the usual processing fee".
Imagine getting a legitimate looking email from your bank, financial institution, Paypal, eBay or other service that you work with and has your credit card and other personal information on their files.
However, this email is anything but legitimate. It's a classic modern day sting operation where online fraudsters lure you into submitting your user name and password through fake emails and "look-a-like" web pages.
Such emails that look just like an authentic message, trick you into clicking a link that takes you directly to a phony page owned by the scammer and entering your login information there.
By doing that, the scammer obtains your username and password and can easily access your account, steal your identity as well as your money.
Disasters are tragic events in which people lose their homes, property, good health and even their loved ones. Such catastrophic events, like the horrific terror attack on 9/11, hurricanes, earthquakes or tsunamis, get an extensive media coverage and provide an excellent platform for fraudsters.
Naturally, such disasters open people's hearts and increase their willingness to contribute to disaster relief charities that assist the victims, survivors and their families in a mutual recovery effort.
In such events, con artists are quick to set up fake donation sites, use spam to ask people for contributions and steal the money which is donated online.