10 Common Spam Scams - Slide 7

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The Bait: Emails claiming that a product is a "miracle cure," a "scientific breakthrough," an "ancient remedy" – or a quick and effective cure for a wide variety of ailments or diseases. They generally announce limited availability, and require payment in advance, and offer a no-risk "money-back guarantee." Case histories or testimonials by consumers or doctors claiming amazing results are not uncommon.

The Catch: There is no product or dietary supplement available via email that can make good on its claims to shrink tumors, cure insomnia, cure impotency, treat Alzheimer's disease, or prevent severe memory loss. These kinds of claims deal with the treatment of diseases; companies that want to make claims like these must follow the FDA's pre-market testing and review process required for new drugs.

Your Safety Net: When evaluating health-related claims, be skeptical. Consult a health care professional before buying any "cure-all" that claims to treat a wide range of ailments or offers quick cures and easy solutions to serious illnesses. Generally speaking, a cure all is a cure none.

Forward spam with miracle health claims to spam@uce.gov.

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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