MILLIONS of scams are emailed every day. How do you recognize them to avoid wasting time? Here are some schemes specially designed to persuade you to part with your personal identity information or your money.

Domain name renewals

Many domain name owners are receiving what appears to be an invoice for renewal of their domain name at several times the normal price and three months ahead of the renewal date. These are not invoices. They are offers to renew the name through another company. Sometimes they may be to register a name slightly different from yours. Compare the prices with your current registrar, and you will see that they are scams.

Domain name foreign country registrations

Domain name owners are currently receiving offers to register their name with a foreign country`s extension, with the story that someone else has applied for that name. So what? Only if you wish to appear to be located in that country would you want to register a name there. Find out what your current registrar charges.

World directories

Every year businesses receive what appear to be invoices for a listing in some world directory. These are not invoices. They are offers to list you. Unfortunately some businesses pay them. If you have never seen a copy of such directory how do you know it is ever published? If there is a website, see if anyone you know is listed.

Who`s who directories

We were once flattered with a nomination for inclusion in a Who`s Who. However a further contact from that organization requested a large fee for inclusion in the directory. Our response is that if anyone wants to list us in any Who`s Who, then they can pay.

Work from home offers

Everyone gets offers to make them rich for working only a few hours per week. Of course, you are asked for personal identification details. Many of these offers are to facilitate money laundering through your bank account. If you want to work from home, decide the type of business you want to work in. Find it or start it yourself. If it is good, you shouldn`t wait for it to find you.


You are congratulated on a chance to win something from a vast array of prizes if you agree to complete some surveys. Why do they need your personal identification information? So they can steal your identity and use your bank account, of course.

Promotional prizes

We did fall in once and agreed to accept a promotional prize from a well-known department store. They did not ask for our personal information, just our name and email address. No prize came, but hundreds of promotional offers came from other large businesses that now had our email address.

Lottery prizes

You receive a notice that you have won a large prize in a lottery that you never entered. To claim the prize you must pay a fee and provide some personal identity information. Of course! It`s another scheme to steal your money.

Miracle cures

A survey identifies that you have a certain medical condition that can only be cured if you buy a certain medicine from a certain website. This is the only place in the whole world that you can obtain the medicine. Of course it`s a miracle cure, but no guarantees!

Bank account phishing

You are requested to go to a screen and update your personal banking details, otherwise your bank will freeze your account! If you pass your mouse over the link you will see that it does not go to your bank, or to any bank. It will go to a website where you are able give up your identity so that they can steal from your bank account. Most real banks warn that they never ask customers to login via an email.

Nigerian letters

This generic heading covers letters from anywhere in the world with the common theme that a share in a large sum of money, which the sender wishes to move secretly out of a country, is offered to the recipient in return for some personal identity details and the payment of some fees.

These came to the notice of authorities in the 1960`s when letters produced on old typewriters were received from Nigeria. The reasons for the offers differed and were quite creative, but the method was always the same.

Surprisingly, these schemes trapped numbers of naive people then and have continued trapping people for almost fifty years, now by email. There`s a potential victim born every day.

What is common to all scams?

Scams are designed to appeal to some human trait – greed, fear, ego, etc. Scams have always been around. The internet just enables them to reach more people faster.

Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is! Use common sense. Get independent advice. Only give personal identity or credit card information to parties you know and trust.

Scams will continue as long as there are naive people.

Our web host has a good spam filter on its email server that discards every category of scam that we identify. We are frequently adding to that filter as scammers reword their emails. But the number of scams getting past our filter is reducing.

Be alert, recognize scams, and save time by having them filtered out before they reach you.

These articles were first published on and have been re-published on many other websites and ezines over the years. New readers are still finding them to be of value and up to date with today’s conditions. We believe they illustrate common sense and the value of thinking through situations. Please check out the other articles advising on small business, web design, search engine optimisation, web hosting and domain names.