- Types of Scam Emails


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 - Types of Scam Email

Requests for help


The "request for help" type of email fraud takes this form. An email is sent requesting help in some way, but including a reward for 

this help as a "hook," such as a large amount of money, a treasure, or some artifact of supposedly great value.


This type of scam has existed at least since the Renaissance, known as the "Spanish Prisoner" or "Turkish Prisoner" scam. In its 

original form, this scheme has the con man purport to be in correspondence with a wealthy person who has been imprisoned under 

a false identity, and is relying on the confidence artist to raise money to secure his release. The con man tells the "mark" (victim) that he is "allowed" to supply money, for which he should expect a generous reward when the prisoner returns. The confidence artist claims to have chosen the victim for their reputation for honesty.


Other form of fraudulent help requests is represented by romance scam. Under this, fraudsters (pretended males or females) build 

online relationships, and after some time, they ask for money from the victims, claiming the money is needed due to the fact they 

have lost their money (or their luggage was stolen), they have been beaten or otherwise harmed and they need to get out of the 

country to fly to the victim's country.


This confidence trick is similar to the face-to-face con, known as the "Stranger With a Kind Face," which is the likely origin of at 

least the title of the vaudevillian routine known by the same name, as "Niagara Falls," or as "Slowly I turned..."

The modern email version of this scam, known variously as the "Nigerian scam", "Nigerian All-Stars," etc., because it is typically 

based in Nigeria, is an advance fee fraud. The lottery scam is a contemporary twist on this scam.


Bogus offers


Email solicitations to purchase goods or services may be instances of attempted fraud. The fraudulent offer typically features a 

popular item or service, at a drastically reduced price.


Items may be offered in advance of their actual availability, for instance, the latest video game may be offered prior to its release, 

but at a similar price to a normal sale. In this case, the "greed factor" is the desire to get something that nobody else has, and before 

everyone else can get it, rather than a reduction in price. Of course, the item is never delivered, as it was not a legitimate offer in the 

first place.


Such an offer may even be no more than a phishing attempt to obtain the victim's credit card information, with the intent of using the

information to fraudulently obtain goods or services, paid for by the hapless victim, who may not know they were scammed until 

their credit card has been "used up".


Phishing for data


Some spoof messages purport to be from an existing company, perhaps one with which the intended victim already has a business 

relationship. The 'bait' in this instance may appear to be a message from 'the fraud department' of, for example, the victim's bank, 

which asks the customer to: "confirm their information"; "log in to their account"; "create a new password", or similar requests. If the

 'fish' takes the 'bait', they are 'hooked' -- their account information is now in the hands of the con man, to do with as they wish. 


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We do not recommend that you answer any scam email or engage any scammer with any communication whatsoever.




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