Nowadays scams and cons come in all shapes and forms. Most of you will know that emails are no safe haven, and you need to remain quite vigilant when reading yours. This article will take you through a handful of popular email scams in hope that you won’t be caught out in the future.
419 – The Nigerian Scam
Thousands of Britons will have received the ‘419’ or ‘Nigerian Prince’ scam. Most of you will have ignored it, but it only takes a few people who may not be as tech-savvy or knowledgeable to fall for the desperate (but fake) cry for help from a member of the Nigerian royal family. They promise that if you pay them thousands of pounds to help one of them out of a tight spot, you’ll be rewarded with hundreds of thousands if not millions. This scam actually didn’t originate in Africa, instead the general premise was first recorded in 1920s Spain, where it was known as the ‘Spanish Prisoner Scam’.
Scammers have the ability to send out emails that on the surface appear to be from a genuine company, often one which is a house-hold name. Countless companies and people have suffered as a result of this, as when the email arrives it appears genuine and may ask the user to put in their bank details for an offer. However, they are actually designed to steal the bank information of the customer. There are several variations of this scam, for example a payday loan company appeared to have sent out an email offering loans but it was actually a loan scam by individuals who had nothing to do with the company, despite the legitimate looking email.
Disaster relief scams
Since the beginning of humanity there have been people prepared to make money off the back of other’s misfortune. Every time planet earth is hit by a devastating natural disaster charities and other well-meaning individuals make the effort to collect money that will be sent to help with the clean-up effort. However, at times like this there are many ways to trick charitable people into handing over their cash under the guise of a charity of a person in need of help. Emails will be sent to millions of people asking for donations because of a heart-wrenching story, with bank details provided somewhere. The money won’t go to helping those affected by the disaster, going instead into the pockets of whichever criminals organised the scam.
This type of scam is one you should be especially vigilant for in the summer months when most people are debating jetting off on holiday abroad. They mainly focus on deals that seem, and are, too good to be true. Tactics include hidden fees, overpriced accommodation with very cheap travel, having to sit through a timeshare presentation, or huge cancellation fees once you’ve realised the mistake you made. The simple piece of advice for dealing with this scam is if it sounds too good to be true, assume that it is!