While the Internet has provided many benefits, report scam it has also provided opportunities for people to run scams and commit acts of fraud. One type of scam is phishing where a victim is duped into providing credit card information or a social security number. Phishing scams operate by email. The victim relieves an email from someone pretending to be a bank. Another type of email scam tends to come from foreign countries such as the UK, Nigeria or Cote D’ Ivore which means Ivory Coast.
Both types of scams try to steal money from the victim by deception. Although these emails are not hard to identify, people apparently still fall for them since they proliferate more than ever. It is remarkable that even though these types of fraud have been around for years, the message itself has gone mostly unchanged. The scammers haven’t had to change or adapt to the response from authorities or the public. Even though more people are aware of phishing and other Internet email scams, there always seems to be a fresh supply of victims.
Phishing emails tend to be more bank or financial institution oriented. Frequently, a phishing attempt will identify itself as Citibank, Chase or Bank of America. Other possible names that might be encountered would be PayPal or the IRS. The PayPal scam is one of the oldest and they are still frequent. The victim usually relieves an email with the subject heading stating that there is a problem with their account. It might say “Urgent Message,” “Attention Needed,” “Account limited,” or “Account deactivated.” Upon opening the email, the recipient is told that to fix the problem, they have to login and enter their account number.
Some of the other words that might be seen in the subject line include “Alert” and “Notice.” If the victim opens the email, there might also be a link to a web site for them to log in. This is not the legitimate site for that company. It may look exactly the same because the scammer has copied the source code for the website and created a fake website using that code. At first glance, it looks like the real website. The way to tell if it is legitimate or not is to look at the URL at the bottom of the browser when the mouse is placed over the link without clicking.
If the website address does not have the name of the bank, company or government agency in the URL, then it is probably a phishing scam. The IRS scam, which appears to be more recent, tends to focus on telling the victim that they are due an IRS refund check. People who fall for this scam end up giving away their social security number along with other information.