Types of emails that are suspicious
Suspicious emails include advance-fee fraud and variants including lottery scams, employment scams and fund transfers
- An advance-fee fraud is a trick in which the target is persuaded to advance relatively small sums of money in the hope of realising a much larger gain.
Typically, such scams begin with a letterform email sent to many target recipients making an offer that will purportedly result in a large payoff for the intended victim. The stories behind the offers vary, but the standard plot is that a person or government entity is in possession of a large amount of money or gold.
This person (who is fictional or a character impersonated by the scammer) is either unable to access the wealth directly or is no longer in need of it. The target recipients are promised a large share of the money or gold if they will assist the scammer in retrieving the money and/or dispensing of it.
- The lottery scam involves fake notices of lottery wins. The winner will usually be asked to send sensitive information to a free email account. The scammer will then notify the victim that in order to release the funds, some small fee (insurance, registration, shipping etc.) is required. Once the fee has been sent, the scammer will invent another fee and attempt to collect it.
The employment scam usually involves emails offering employment opportunities with extremely attractive terms and conditions. Generally, after the applicants have been "accepted", they will be asked to pay a fee either to process a visa or as a deposit on accommodation. (Source: Wikipedia)
- In general, caution should be exercised when any email asks for your confidential information or login details, or directs you to a webpage that asks for such information.
How to spot a suspicious email
Typically, a suspicious email does not address the recipient personally. It may contain spelling or grammatical errors. As set out above, these emails usually ask for personal information. Further, the email address of the author of the email and return email addresses provided in the text of the email (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and the use of webmail are additional indicators that an email may be suspicious.
What to do in the event you receive a suspicious email
If you receive suspicious emails, do not respond or provide any information. In addition, do not click on any link contained in the email or provide any Internet or telephone banking login details.