If you’ve had the same email address for a long time, then you’re more than likely receiving multiple emails per day that look rather suspicious. Email scams have been around for a long time and sadly won’t be going away any time soon. We’re going to talk about some of the most common types and how to spot them.

Scam emails are so effective because they cost so little to produce and send out. Even if you spot 99 out of 100 scam e-mails, and fall for just 1 of them, the scammer is still making a profit from you.

There are some very basic rules to follow regarding e-mails. Never open an attachment or a link found in an email unless you are 110 percent sure you know who sent it to you. Even then, it’s always best to use can antivirus to scan the link or file first, have a look at our recommendations for the best antivirus programs here.

Common Email Scams

You might like to know how to block emails.

Common scam e-mails

These are several different types of scam email, but they all essentially boil down into trying to trick you into believing that they’re something they’re not. Some of the most common ones you’ll find are as follows:

Advance-fee fraud

We’ve all heard of the ‘Nigerian price’ emails, and this is a good example of advance-fee fraud. The sender will ask for some money up front, and promise a reward many times greater than the initial amount sent.

Lottery promotion programs

The very common “You’ve been selected” or “You’ve won!” scam. These scams will usually try and get your bank details, or even ask you for money upfront as a deposit to claim your prize.

Inheritance scams

How would you like a large amount of money from a relative you never know existed? All you’ll have to do is pay a deposit and the money will reach you ‘eventually’. If something looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

Sick child scam

This one is particularly nasty, as you’ll receive an email containing details and pictures of a sick child with a request for donations for their treatment. Any money donated will end up in the fraudster’s bank account.

Here's how to fix spam in sent folder

Compromising photo scam

This scam will have you receive an email, perhaps from a friend, with a link to a photo and the message saying ‘Wow, isn’t this you?’ or something along those lines. A lot of the time it’s suggested that the photo is compromising in some way.

Clicking on this photo will take you to a website that looks a lot like Facebook or Instagram, but will likely just be a different site designed to look the same. You’ll be asked to log into your account to view the photo, but in reality you’ll be supplying your social media details to some unscrupulous individual.

Most Common Email Scams

The vast majority of scam emails are simply pretending to be something they’re not. The most common examples pretend to be from big institutions such as Apple, Facebook, HMRC or even the FBI. These e-mails will often look very official at a glance, and will often be asking for personal details, or provide a link to a website asking you to enter them there.

They tend to fall apart under closer scrutiny however. One of the best ways to check an email’s legitimacy is to take a closer look at the sender by hovering your mouse over their name. It may say ‘Apple Customer Support’ or something similar, but if you look through to look at the sender’s email address directly, it will almost certainly be something else altogether.

If someone you haven’t spoken to in years is recommending you buy something, or sending you some fantastic links that you simply must click, then it’s almost always a good idea to stay away.

Keep yourself safe online with our step by step guide.