4 real life examples of scam emails

Ever since the first spam email was sent in 1978, people who are too lazy to work for a living have been coming up with all kinds of new and interesting ways of phishing, or scamming, hard-working folks into giving up their dollars via electronic-mail.

Some of them have been pretty imaginative too! The Nigerian Prince email is my personal favorite. You know the one: some overseas royal family member needs you to wire them a couple hundred bucks in exchange for thousands, if not millions, of dollars of their fortune or they’ll lose it all. Definite points for creativity. This scam still costs Americans almost three quarters of a million dollars a year.

At this point, it’s 2020 and we all know to immediately delete emails promising to help you find hot singles in your area or to help you last longer in bed but the lowlifes who come up with the scams aren’t as stupid as they are degenerate. It can be difficult to sort out the spam so I took it upon myself to dig through three of my email accounts (Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo) to look for spam indicators. And remember from this blog post that I’m no stranger to terrible people using email to scam people.

This was in the spam folder of a Gmail account. Okay, so this one is pretty obvious. I talked about this kind of extortion email in another blog post. The characters are going to catch anyone’s eye right off the bat (not to mention Gmail’s huge warning banner) but there’s more to it than that. The sender’s email address immediately strikes me as unfamiliar and the grammar is atrocious. Gmail was the best of the three when it came to showing information for the sender as evidenced by this screenshot:

Here’s one from my Yahoo! mailbox. This seems innocuous enough at first glance but is no different from the Nigerian Prince email I mentioned above. Like the first example, there are no images or links in the body of the email but it’s a scam all the same. I think the worst part of this one is that it seems like it’s trying to prey on people’s faith and sympathy. These scammers really are human garbage. Anyway, again the big giveaways are the grammar and punctuation (there’s not much of either). Also, { MRS: Theresa Owen } makes me think that the idiots that created this email were using a template and were supposed to fill that part in and delete the brackets to make it look legitimate but couldn’t be bothered.

Below is what the contact card looks like for Yahoo. Doesn’t even really tell you that it might be a threat. Not good, Yahoo.

This gem is from my ancient Hotmail (Outlook Live) email account. It goes without saying that any email from an address like this one is worthy of raising an eyebrow. Not to mention that the name of the company they are trying to portray is FreeScore360 so the reply address should definitely have the same name. How thick can you get?! This email had several links embedded and they all pointed to the same URL which started with “http://marriedconfessions” There are several reasons why I won’t go to a site with a name like that.

The Outlook contact card at least told me that it was an unknown sender but doesn’t mention if the message is encrypted like Gmail did.

Last but not least is the craftiest one I found and pretty representative of well executed spam/scam emails nowadays. If you ignore the reply address, it looks very much like it could have come from Amazon. All the links send you to an Amazon website, albeit Amazon India, but they really are Amazon links. All the links, that is, except the main one. The “Revise your payment” would take me to a URL. is a URL shortener that Twitter uses when you tweet a link. Essentially, the scumbag that created this email used Twitter to get a shortened URL that wouldn’t raise any flags if someone were to casually notice it. Clever little jerk.

Now, I didn’t click that link because there’s no way for me to know whether I’d be sent to a fake Amazon website meant to collect my credit card information or if it would send a virus to my computer but I do know for a fact that this email isn’t legitimate for a couple reasons. First, because the reply address does not include “” Second, the contact card (below) showed that this is an unverified sender. Lastly, and most definitive, I don’t have an Amazon Prime Membership.

A few good ideas to keep in mind when wading into the waters of emails with unknown origin are as follows:

  • Don’t click any links in emails if you can't be 100% positive of its legitimacy. Most browsers will show the actual URL in the bottom left corner of the window if you hover your cursor over the link

  • Don’t opt to show any blocked content

  • If you receive an email referencing a product you own or subscribe to but it still seems fishy, just go straight to the website in another window and access your account safely

  • No reputable company will ask you to respond with any sensitive information

  • Don’t try to unsubscribe from any emails that look spammy. Odds are good that link isn’t going to actually do what it claims. Instead, block the sender in your email server

Spam/scam emails aren’t going anywhere so all we can do is tread carefully when sorting through our mailboxes. And, of course, reach out to OwnIT if you feel your cyber security has been jeopardized.

As always, please contact me with any topics you would like me to research in the world of high-technology at

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