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Email Phishing Scams-How They Work And How To Protect Yourself

cyber crime, email phishing

May 13, 2013 By David Chemago

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Most of us have had at least one Nigerian Email Scam sent to us in the past. Although they are so obvious that they are scams people actually used to fall for them. 

Subject: Dear Respected One,

Dear Respected One,


Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with you. I got your contact from the International web site directory. I prayed over it and selected your name among other names due to it's esteeming nature and the recommendations given to me as a reputable and trust worthy person I can do business with and by the recommendations I must not hesitate to confide in you for this simple and sincere business.

I am Wumi Abdul; the only Daughter of late Mr and Mrs George Abdul. My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant in Abidjan,the economic capital of Ivory Coast before he was poisoned to death by his business associates on one of their outing to discus on a business deal. When my mother died on the 21st October 1984, my father took me and my younger brother HASSAN special because we are motherless. Before the death of my father on 30th June 2002 in a private hospital here in Abidjan. He secretly called me on his bedside and told me that he has a sum of $12.500.000 (Twelve Million, five hundred thousand dollars) left in a suspense account in a local Bank here in Abidjan, that he used my name as his first Daughter for the next of kin in deposit of the fund………………

Almost on a daily basis criminals are working on new ways to steal either your identity or your money.

There have been a lot of people scammed into giving away their banking information lately and I thought I would pass on some email examples and how they work.

First, You Need To Know What Phishing is?

Phishing is when criminals attempt to capture your personal information through emails, phone calls, text messages, and websites that look like the real thing.

They all have the same goal, to get your usernames, passwords, banking and credit card details, and to steal your money or identity.

Typically, you are directed to a website that looks legitimate such as your bank. These are sites that are often identical to the site that you think you are going to.

cyber crime, email phishing

You will then be directed to enter you card number and password. Once you have done this you are screwed. Not only can the criminals transfer money from your account or make credit cards purchases, they can steal your identity.

A stolen identity can be one of the most frustrating experiences that could possibly happen to someone and can be a lifelong problem. You will spend countless hours on the phone, writing letters, and trying to convince creditors that it was not you who applied for that online loan or got that new credit card.

spy stuff

Other Scam Terminology

Clone Phishing

This is where a legitimate email and its contents are cloned but have the link or attachment changed to take you to the criminals site or infect your computer. These are hard to distinguish from real emails as typically the email header has been “spoofed” to show it is from a trusted email address.


Whaling is focused phishing attacks aimed at senior executives at businesses...also known as "going after the whale".

Spear Phishing

Usually the criminals will find out as much information as possible about specific targets before their attack. This will increase their chance of success by possibly using a persons friends name (from Facebook etc). For example I could create an email account using a victims best friends name from Facebook, or an associate from LinkedIn. I could then send that person a link or attachment that contains a Trojan or other type of malicious code that would send me information from your computer.

How To Protect Yourself

Personally, I never open any “Bank Type” emails and simply delete them. As I have email accounts that are listed on the web I get all kinds of interesting stuff…I recently received an email from Madonna wanting me to reconnect! I didn’t realize I was so popular!

If the bank or credit card company calls you they will always ask you security questions. How you ever stopped to ask yourself how do I know this person is from the bank? I always as them before I tell them my date of birth or personal details to prove to me they are who they say they are.

The only way to be sure it is the bank is to get a call back number and Google it to see what the number shows up as. As a final method of maintaining your security I would recommend you go into the bank personally if you receive calls from the bank.

At the end of the day, the only way to keep yourself safe is to have updated anti-virus and malware protection, and never give out any personal or banking information on the web, through emails, or over the phone. There are new methods of identity theft coming out all of the time. Be careful out there.