List of e-mail scams

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E-mail scam is an unsolicited email that claims the prospect of a bargain or something for nothing. Some spam 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.[1] E-mail scam is a form of email fraud.

E-mail scams

  • 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 sometime 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.
  • Word of Mouth: This e-mail 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.
  • 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.[2]
  • Phishing: Typically carried out by e-mail 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.
  • FBI e-mail: 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.[3]
  • 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, eand/or national identification numbers or by getting the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.
  • Hitman: An e-mail 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 not to contact the 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.[4]


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