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Types of email scams to watch out for

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has identified the 12 most common types of email scams to land in an inbox. With internet crimes on the steep incline, an individual should be extremely diligent in making sure personal information is protected. Let's look at some types of emails to watch out for.

Pyramid schemes disguised as business opportunities will usually offer a way to make money working from home, and give a phone number to call. Callers may reach a voicemail that asks for a name and phone number to which a salesperson can return a call.

Then, there are companies offering to sell bulk email lists to a party for the purpose of business marketing. Most internet service providers do not allow bulk email, and many states actually have laws against unsolicited emails. Similarly, chain letters asking for money are always illegal.

Any type of schemes offering steady income to work at home, especially those that request or require an up-front fee for "supplies" are very dubious and should be ignored.

These types of scams also prey on the health concerns many people have and tend to offer miraculous health or diet claims. Many of these emails will market a particular product which they deem to be a new "cure." Consumers should be very aware of the dangers in these types of products. Most have not been approved for human consumption by the FDA, and can result in serious harm or even death.

There are also Ponzi schemes disguised as investment opportunities. In these schemes, early investors get paid off by funds obtained from later investors, making the opportunity look legit until the money runs out. At that point, the scheme is shut-down undetected, and late investors lose money.

Cable descramblers, often referred to in layman's terms as "jail broke" are another type of scam. If a descrambler even works after assembly, it is illegal and punishable by law to steal cable or any other utility.

Offers to repair credit are typically lies. A consumer should never follow advice from any company who advises to lie, misrepresent, or falsify any document. In doing so, the consumer opens themselves up to criminal prosecution for fraud.

A consumer should stay vigilant of these types of scams. Claims can be filed with the FTC by consumers who continue to receive emails such as these after requesting them to cease. Speaking with an attorney experienced in internet crimes can offer great advice in where to turn for help.

Source: Florida Office of the Attorney General, "Consumer Protection," Accessed Dec. 3, 2017

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