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List of Email Scams in India – Know How to Identify Email Scams


List of Email Scams in India – Know How to Identify Email Scams


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List of Email Scams in India – Know How to Identify Email Scams

An email scam involves any such email that is intended to defraud someone for personal or professional gains. Also called a phishing scam, email scam messages usually trick victims into making payments using look-alike websites and fraudulent emails.

In 2017, 7.5 million email scams were reported.

Be vigilant of an email scam by knowing how to identify email scams. This blog shall give you the list of email scams in India that people are most vulnerable to.

BEWARE of Emails Scams Stating that You Have Won a Lottery!

Isn’t it the most perfect thing that can happen to you? You receive a new mail in your inbox. You open it and boom, your fortunes change in a second! You are the cash-prize winner of a lottery or a contest you do not even recall participating in!!!

This is one of the most common types of email scams in India and all around the world. Also known as a ‘lottery scam’, in this email scam, the victim is sent a fraud email notifying him/her as the winner of a contest. What happens next is explained in the following sections.

What is a Phishing Scam/Email Scam?

A phishing scam is a form of an email scam in which the perpetrator sends a fraudulent email impersonating an individual or organization.

Doesn’t this blow your mind that nearly 14.5 billion different types of email spams are sent every single day?

In fact, email spam accounts for 45% of all emails sent!

The scammer usually pretends to be a trustworthy and revered individual (such as the CEO of the organization the victim belongs to), or organization (such as Google). This enables them to deceive the victims into trusting the reliability of the email and obtain sensitive information from them.

The Techniques Used by Email Scammers

Email scam masterminds ensure that the fraudulent email evokes a sense of urgency, fear and/or curiosity from the mail recipient. This makes it a cakewalk for them to influence the victim to open an attachment or fill out a form. Usually, victims are convinced to provide confidential information such as password, username, bank details etc. in response to the email.

The Recent Gmail Phishing Scam

The latest Gmail phishing scam targeted close to 1 billion Gmail users across the globe.

The email scam involved individuals receiving a look-alike Gmail sign-in form. What the victims of this phishing scam failed to identify was that the URL was fake. Once filled, this form provided hackers the complete access to the victim’s Gmail account. Such types of email scam enable hackers to identify the people who are most likely to fall prey to such emails.

Did you know that out of every 12,500,000 emails sent, spammers receive a response for 1 such fraud email?

List of Email Scams in India

1. Advance Fee Fraud or Nigerian Scam

Advance Fee Fraud is also called as a Nigerian scam because these scams first originated in Nigeria. This phishing scam involves assuring the victim of a large sum of money in exchange for a processing fee.

Once the payment is done by the victim, the perpetrator either leads him into a web of lies for extracting more money or he simply vanishes. This form of email scam generally promises the victim a reward such as a gift, loan, scholarship, contract or investment, in return for a small front-up payment.

2. Lottery Scam

A lottery scam is also a type of an advance fee fraud. In this, an individual receives a sudden, unsolicited email about winning a hefty sum of money in a lottery. As if this weren’t suspicious enough, gullible victims do not get the cue even when they are asked to keep this communication a secret!

The winner is then asked to contact a ‘claims agent’ to receive the sum assured to him. The victims are convinced to pay a ‘processing fee’ or ‘transfer charge’, which they innocently end up paying! Unfortunately, the lottery award is never received by them.

Some lottery scams are very difficult to be identified even by the most well-read. These are the ones in which perpetrators deceive victims using names of actual lottery organizations or other such legitimate companies.

3. Online Dating Scam

Online dating and matrimonial platforms have emerged as a popular platform for the current generation to seek a suitable match. However, this has also made such platforms a flourishing place to trap innocent users of online dating and matrimonial sites.

A survey has shown that women in the age group of 30 to 60 are the most vulnerable victims in online dating and matrimonial scams. In fact, the amount they are usually cheated of can vary anywhere between ₹15000 to ₹94 lakh.

Online dating scams usually start from an online dating or matrimonial platform wherein the perpetrator befriends the victim. Eventually, the conversation is moved off the dating site to a personal email or an online or social media chat room.

One commonly used method in this email scam is when the perpetrator pretends to be based out a foreign nation. They then take advantage of the victim’s trust by demanding money under various pretexts. Some commonly used tricks include asking for money to clear customs duty for expensive gifts, treatment of a family member, or to salvage a sinking business abroad.

However, it easy to spot fake profiles if you are a little vigilant. So, make sure you do a thorough background check before entertaining such scam emails!

4. Job Scam

Job scam is also one of the common types of email scams in India. This is because each day lakhs of job-seekers upload their resume on several job search engines in India. Thus, imagine the volume of personal data available on such forums for conmen waiting to defraud gullible victims!

The scammer chooses a particular profile and sends a spoofed email with a fake offer letter to the victim. The offer letters often bear the logo of reputed organizations and promise a hefty salary and remuneration. A common method to cheat job seekers in such email scams is to request them to pay an advance fee to attend the interview or secure the job.

In the already saturated job market in India, desperate job seekers end up falling for such phishing scams. The gullible victims ultimately end up paying the advance fee for the job only to realize later that they have been cheated!

Avoid Filling Any Form That You are Not Sure Of!

Some perpetrators may even end up convincing victims to click on a fraudulent link that prompts them to fill out a form. Such forms are made to look exactly like a genuine job application form demanding users to enter their personal details. Sometimes, a victim’s personal data is sold off to third parties for a hefty sum, or as a part of a larger network of identity theft.

5. Sick Baby Scam

The sick baby scam is another popular phishing scam across the world in which sympathy for a sick baby is used to defraud people.

In this form of an email scam, one receives an email containing a photograph of a sick baby or child. It also contains a message from the ‘fake’ parents requesting financial help to bear the child’s medical expenses. Such emails are circulated as a chain, requesting people to either make a small donation or forward the message to their kith and kin.

And as is expected, most fall for the helpless little child and end up clicking on the link provided or making a donation to the conman. Please remember that sharing an email or post can never equal donations! No website or social media platform shall donate money based on the number of times a post is shared.

How to Identify Email Scams

So by now, you would have got a fair idea of some of the common types of email scams in India. With this knowledge at hand, you must also be aware of how to identify email scams so that you or your family don’t fall for one! Here’s how.

Keep these Tips Handy to Identify Phishing Scams

Do remember that it is very easy to identify a fake email or phishing scam if you are a little observant. Here are five tips on how to identify email scams and stay wary of them.

1. Delete Unwanted/Suspicious Emails: Deleting unwanted emails is one of the best ways to avoid email scams. Do remember that a genuine and legitimate enterprise shall never bombard with you continuous information through emails.

2. Never Believe in Promises of Prizes or Money: Remember that no one really cares to give away enormous rewards as a social service! Please dismiss any such email that promises free rewards or monetary benefits.

3. Don’t give in to Request for Donations: A sick child, a natural disaster, and a hapless family with insufficient funds for medical treatment and so much more. Conmen use a number of such tactics to pull the emotional strings and demand for donations. Please do not pay heed to such requests. Instead, donate to legit charities such as the Red Cross.

4. Avoid Sharing Personal Information: Any email demanding your personal information such as your Unique Identity Number, bank details, family information etc. should ring a warning bell in your head. Irrespective of what they promise, please mark the email as a spam and exercise caution.

5. Don’t Click on Suspicious Links: Exercise extra caution before clicking on a suspicious link in an email. Even if it ‘seems’ to be from a legitimate company, please do your background check before clicking on a link. Be aware of look-alike login pages or forms that require you to fill in your personal information.

Incognito Forensic Foundation (IFF Lab) – In the League of Fighting Email Scams in India

Incognito Forensic Foundation is a private forensic laboratory that is headquartered in Chennai and has a PAN Indian presence in the fields of cyber and digital forensics. It boasts of a state-of-the-art cyber and digital forensic lab equipped with the latest digital forensics tools.

The cases of phishing scams and other forms of cyber crimes are ever-increasing. IFF seeks to play an active role in imparting training and awareness to the public on the different types of email scams and how to identify emails scams. They also endeavor to support Law Enforcement Agencies in investigating different types of email scams and other cyber crimes. IFF Lab is actively spearheading the cause of keeping the nation protected adequately against cyber crimes.

Get in touch with IFF Lab for Investigation of Email Scam or Phishing Scam.