Common email scams to avoid

Print Friendly

We might all have had a chuckle when that glaringly obvious email scam drops into your inbox. 

Yet chances are we’ve heard at least one story of someone who was fooled into handing over a bucketload of cash to an anonymous stranger. And now that these scams are becoming a little more subtle, we all have to be on our guard.

Here are some of the most ‘popular’ cons and the ways you can avoid falling into their terrible trap.

You’ve won a pile of money! (No, you haven’t)

Any email that has ‘congratulations’ in its subject header should set alarm bells ringing straight away. How could I have won the lottery if I haven’t entered it? Well, exactly, and why should you have to send them money before you collect those winnings?

Phishing for your chips

One reason you should never have just one password for your more sensitive log-ins is that clever online robbers are after this simple bit of data in order to hack deep into your bank account. An email which looks like it could quite easily be from a legitimate website may fool you, and the phone line you are directed to might only ever have an automated message at the other end, but well, sometimes people are really busy and can’t answer their calls? A few key phrases should properly trigger your doubts: ‘Confirm your identity’ and ‘verify your account’ are classics, and if you receive a dire warning that your account will be shut down in 48 hours if you don’t respond should be all the information you need to shut them down.

The job’s a bad ‘un

If you’re currently seeking employment and actively in the market, the best thing you could find in your inbox is a job offer. If your details are with an agency, then maybe the warning signs might not necessarily be lighting up if an employer you’ve never heard of is prepared to give you a position in their firm. But if someone you have never met seems rather keen on gaining access to your bank details, it’s worth logging off and trying to find out if that person (and company) actually exists. Chances are they won’t.

Why do people fall for it?

Before the internet, stories would be legion of people (especially the elderly) being conned out of their life savings on their very doorsteps. Technological advancement has merely given the new breed of con artists a less in-your-face avenue for stealing our money. It’s not just old people, though, anyone can be enticed into handing over large sums if they feel it will ultimately benefit them or if a plea touches on their humanity: such as the ‘Nigerian email scams’ in which families will be saved if you could just see your way to sending out your bank details.

Keeping clear

People have done some awful things when they’ve signed-in after imbibing one too many. And those moments when our wits are not being kept about us are the times when even the most level-headed individual can fall prey. Never drink and surf.

Trust (almost) no one

It’s a rather sad indictment of the wider global society, but with our identities and funds prone to attack, a little bit of cynicism and a sprinkle of suspicion on your part will go a long way. Once you get to know the clues (if someone you don’t know is asking for data that could in any way lead them to your finances, press delete immediately) your ability to spot a scam will keep you (and your money) safe from harm.

If you’ve been the victim of a cruel email scam, how did they manage to con you?




The following two tabs change content below.

Silversurfers Features Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Features Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

Latest posts by Silversurfers Features Editor (see all)

Not a member?

Join the silversurfers community today! It's free, easy to do, and is packed full of features and amazing offers!

Join the community!
Click here if you have forgotten your password
20th Jul 2015
Thanks for voting!
If an offer sounds to good to be true, it is invariably because it is!
David N
13th Mar 2015
Thanks for voting!
I have signed up to my County Council web site and I receive emails updating me re new scams. I`m sure that other Councils offer similar warning advice?

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!

More Internet

Staying secure on public wifi Coffee shop with free Wifi on wood background in soft light.
The widespread availability of free public wifi is great news - today it's easier than ever to...
How to keep safe online Internet Security
It will come as no surprise to Silversurfer readers that statistics from Ofcom show that the...
Safer Internet Day reminds us about online safety Computer Web Signin User Security
In a recent one-off Channel 4 drama, Cyberbully, the fears of young internet users and their...
A simple online solution to say goodbye and share memories Senior man reading book with grandkids
remember-me gives you the power to celebrate life and love by passing on messages to your loved...
Podcasts: the new radio listening to podcasts
Lots of people have started to listen to podcasts, the radio-style shows you can enjoy as and when...
How the older generation are becoming tech savvy family, technology, age and people concept - close up of happy senior couple with tablet pc computer at home
Do you constantly hear about this new-fangled thing called "the Internet" and wonder what on Earth...
What to do if an online account has been hacked Miniature Police Squad Protecting Laptop Computer. Technology Co
Despite being careful, sometimes our passwords can fall into the wrong hands and our online...
Try Before You Buy Broadband Unlimited with Sky! Screen shot 2015-10-28 at 13.55.08
Are you an existing Sky TV Customer?  If so then this may be of interest to you. Existing Sky...
Start your own blog in a few simple steps Woman Hands Typing In A Laptop In A Coffee Shop
Blogging isn't just for the young – your own blog is a great place to share your passions and...
What you need to know to stay safe on the web TOPICAL Complaints 101654
Breaches of data and account information are in the news more and more - and while it's impossible...
How to make strong passwords you can remember Password
From credit card numbers to sensitive bank information, personal emails and photos of...
Putting the tea in technology 4
Did you know there are still six million people in the UK who've never been online? The National...