10 Common Spam Scams - Slide 3

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The Bait: Email or pop-up messages that claim to be from a business or organization you may deal with – say, an Internet Service Provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message may ask you to "update," "validate," or "confirm" your account information or face dire consequences.

The Catch: Phishing is a scam where internet fraudsters send spam or pop-up messages to reel in personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims. The messages direct you to a website that looks just like a legitimate organization's site, or to a phone number purporting to be real. But these are bogus and exist simply to trick you into divulging your personal information so the operators can steal it, fake your identity, and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.

Your Safety Net: Make it a policy never to respond to emails or pop-ups that ask for your personal or financial information, click on links in the message, or call phone numbers given in the message. Don't cut and paste a link from the message into your Web browser, either: phishers can make links look like they go one place, but then actually take you to a look-alike site. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization using a phone number you know to be genuine, or open a new internet browser session and type in the company's correct Web address yourself. Using anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a firewall, and keeping them up to date, can help.

Forward phishing emails to spam@uce.gov and to the organization that is being spoofed.

While some consumers find unsolicited commercial email – also known as "spam" – informative, others find it annoying and time consuming. Still others find it expensive: They're among the people who have lost money to spam that contained bogus offers and fraudulent promotions.

Many Internet Service Providers and computer operating systems offer filtering software to limit the spam in their users' e-mail inboxes. In addition, some old-fashioned 'filter tips' can help you save time and money by avoiding frauds pitched in email. OnGuard Online suggests computer users screen spam for scams, send unwanted spam on to the appropriate enforcement authorities, and then hit delete.

This slideshow features 10 common spam scams end users need to know about.

Fighting Back

Con artists are clever and cunning, constantly hatching new variations on age-old scams. Still, skeptical consumers can spot questionable or unsavory promotions in email offers. Should you receive an email that you think may be fraudulent, forward it to the FTC at spam@uce.gov, hit delete, and smile. You'll be doing your part to help put a scam artist out of work.

How to Report Spam

If you receive an email that you think may be a scam:

  • Forward it to the FTC at spam@uce.gov
  • Forward it to the abuse desk of the sender's ISP.
  • Also, if the email appears to be impersonating a bank or other company or organization, forward the message to the actual organization.

If you think you may have responded to an email that may be a scam:

  • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
  • Report it to your state Attorney General, using contact information at naag.org.
  • Then visit the FTC's identity theft website at ftc.gov/idtheft. While you can't completely control whether you will become a victim of identity theft, you can take some steps to minimize your risk.

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Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

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