The FTC’s Guide To The Top 10 Email Scams

The FTC (Federal Trade commission) has recently identified the top 10 email scams that consumers should be on the lookout for.

The 10 scams are as follows –


Scam artists offer to transfer huge amounts of money into your bank account in return for paying a fee or their ‘expenses’ that are necessary to release the money.

If you are foolish enough to respond then you may receive documents that look ‘official’.

Beware, however, that the emails are from crooks who are trying to steal your money or identity or both.


Phishing scams tend to originate either via email or pop-up messages.

They will claim to be from a business or organisation that not only do you recognise, but you may also have dealt with them in the past.

Typically, the message will ask you to update, validate or confirm your account, or face the consequences.

Phishing is a scam where internet fraudsters attempt to steal accounts or identities or both.

Never reply to such phishing attempts and never click on any of the links.


Check overpayment scams are common on the more popular online auction sites such as eBay, as well as elsewhere.

Someone will respond to your ad or online auction, pretending to be a buyer, and will then offer to pay with a check.

At the last moment they will come up with a reason to write the check for more than the purchase price and will then ask you to wire them back the difference.

Typically, these checks are counterfeit and when they bounce, you are liable for the entire amount, as well as having lost the goods as well.


Do you really believe you can stay at home, stuffing envelopes or similar, and still earn thousands of dollars per week?

If so, then you may become the next victim of a work at home scam.

You will be asked to pay a fee to begin with and, instead of real employment, you’ll simply be asked to solicit others into the scheme, thereby earning large amounts of money only for those behind the scam.

If something sounds too good to be true.. it usually is.


Pills, potions, patches, creams and a multitude of other products that will apparently help you to lose weight without having to exercise or change your eating habits.

Experts agree that the best way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories whilst increasing your level of physical activity.

If someone suggests their product offers a better solution then ask questions!


Emails arrive, boasting of foreign lotteries in which the chances of winning are extremely high.

Alternatively, you will receive an email saying you’ve already won, even if you didn’t enter.

The people behind these lottery email scams will keep any money that you send for ‘taxes, fees and expenses’ and will then attempt to use your bank account numbers or credit cards to access more of your money.


Some new health products should, perhaps, carry their own health warning.

Scientific breakthroughs, miraculous cures and secret formulas may promise much, but what do they really deliver?

When evaluating health care claims, be skeptical and consult a health care professional before buying any cure-all product.


These offer investments with extremely high rates of return and very little or no risk.

Typically, early investors are paid with money obtained from later investors and are then encouraged to invest more.

Ponzi schemes eventually collapse due to the fact that there isn’t enough money coming in to cover the earnings payouts.

You should always evaluate any investment opportunity carefully and discuss with an accountant, investment professional or lawyer before you part with your cash.


Lucky you – you have been ‘pre-qualified’ to either receive a low interest loan or credit card or to repair your poor credit rating.

To take advantage of the offer, however, you will be required to pay a processing fee of several hundred dollars.

Before handing over your cash, consider this – legitimate and responsible lenders never guarantee loans or credit cards before you apply.


Debt elimination scams can often arrive via email and either offer ways to consolidate your bills without further borrowing, or to wipe your debts out entirely.

Quite often this will involve bankruptcy proceedings but the email is unlikely to make that clear.

Before resorting to bankruptcy, or undertaking any other kind of debt elimination offer, talk with your creditors about arranging a modified payment plan, or talk to a credit counseling service to develop a debt repayment plan.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. After personally being scammed, I want to warn you. Follow the Ten Commandments of Investing and save your money, your health and your relationships.
    Commandment #1- If it sounds too good to be true, it is! Run and don’t ever look back.
    Mark Cravens
    Author, The Ten Commandments of Investing

    • Wow – I saw, or rather heard, that you got scammed out of over $300,000 – that’s an awful lot of money.

      Did you get any of it back after she was arrested?

  2. I’ve also been getting a lot of the following:
    1) Someone has sent you a $1000 gift card from (prominent retailer)
    2) Get a new (prominent computer laptop) free just for reviewing it!
    3) Get a government grant, eliminate your debts

    Never clicked on these to see what the next step was, but they all fit the pattern of scams. Particularly the one offering a *black* Apple MacBook Air free for reviewing it — they don’t come in black!

    Keep up the good work, Scam!

    • A *black* Apple MacBook Air sums up a lot of these scammers – they don’t take the time to do their research and make some quite fundamental mistakes that give the game away.

Speak Your Mind