I see more email scams and spam more than any other type. I probably get 10-30 unwanted emails per day. The email spam filter does an OK job removing unwanted emails. However, I also have to check the junk folder because the filter occasionally removes valid emails. Unwanted emails are a persistent annoyance. Beware of these nefarious emails.
General scam email come in a variety of types. Some are designed to sell overpriced goods or services. With these scams you actually get something, but it is generally not a good deal. They may offer something like a Navy Seal survival knife for an incredible price. A decent knife of this caliber might sell for at least $75 (probably a lot more) but you can get one for only $9.95. The knife that you receive is of inferior quality and not one that you would actually use. Yes, I did this decades ago. The knife was worth the price paid but not more than that.
These scams try to get information from you. These can be the get-rich-quick schemes, you’ve won this or that and just click this button, social media posts where you enter information that could be used against you (what state were you born, what are your favorite foods, etc.), etc. Do NOT provide any details that could give a scammer information about you. Especially guard information such as numbers (bank, address, social security, etc.), family names, pet names, previous addresses, schools attended, etc.
Many scam emails use email addresses that look real. Many also do an excellent job mimicking real websites, logos, colors, fonts, etc. These spoof emails and websites can look very real but often redirect you to other websites or try to entice you to click links. These links and websites often capture your email address and put you spam lists so that you received unwanted emails. Once you get on these lists it is very difficult to get off of them.
Detecting a spoof can be challenging since those emails and websites can look legitimate. Verify alerts using the original website and NOT the email. For example, if could get an email from PayPal or eBay about a purchase. Login to PayPal or eBay from your browsers and NOT through the email link. See if there is record of a purchase. If not, that email notification was a spoof.
Email attachments can contain bad things such as viruses, malware, or links to dangerous websites. Do not trust attachments especially if they are from unknown sources. It is normally best to simply delete those emails. Many of these attachments contain fake invoices, statements, or the like.
Lots of emails claim that you won a prize, can get a gift card, or offer millions of dollars from some foreign benefactor. If something sounds too good to be true then it probably is. These comprise different types of scams. Some lure you into following a link for some special offer. These often have long questionnaires that lead nowhere (been there, done that years ago). Some of the sites promise great reward if you pay a “small” processing fee (bogus). Others capture your email address, phone number, or other information and barrage you with unwanted solicitations (emails, phone calls, etc.). Just pass on the giveaways and delete the emails. The ones that ask for personal information I flag as phishing. Hopefully, the email provider will record these complaints and restrict those spammers.
Things to Do
If you get an email from a large company such as Apple, PayPal, eBay, a bank, etc. then chances are pretty high that these companies employ people who understand English. If you get an email from a large company that contains spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or other errors then it’s probably a scam. American monetary values use this type of format $1,234.56. Other countries may use this form: $1.234,56. If you see the non-American notation then it is probably a foreign scam.
If the email contains a link to follow you can place your cursor over the link (do NOT click it) and it often shows the link address. If the email supposedly came from Apple.com but the link shows “JoesScamCentral.com,” or some other bogus link, then delete the email. If the sender’s email looks real, you can often hit the REPLY button and it may show a completely different email address. The real-looking email was spoofed and this is spam.