This morning at 7:40 we had a segment with Dateline's Chris Hansen (most famous for his "How to Catch a Predator" series where he catches online sex predators) about Internet scams. The segment addressed spam emails - specifically Nigerian email scams - that look like real pleas for help.
I personally have fallen victim to opening emails from names that seem legitimate (I'm thinking: is this someone from college that I've forgotten?) and with subject lines that catch my attention ("Hey Liz, trying to get in touch") only to open it and find obvious spam. And sometimes emails from friends of mine get sent to my spam folder and I delete their messages without reading them. In other words, no one is immune to spam, regardless of filters or blocks.
This segment was amazing because it specifically addressed scams relating to money laundering - people who write emails that ask for help and promise monetary rewards, as long as you're willing to send them some of your own money. My thought is: who is really buying into this? Then again, in the age of the Internet it's hard to tell what is legitimate and what could be fraud. I suppose if you believe you are helping a charity or someone in desperate need, you may fall prey to a scam. In general though, I feel like it's a rule of thumb to not give out any personal information online and also refrain from paying someone or an organization without knowing exactly where your money is going.
I'd like to hear from you if you have a story about falling victim to an email scam - send me your comments!