Email and Phone Scams

Cover Image for Email and Phone Scams
By Caroline Cleary

7 min read

What You Need to Know

Over the years, fraud has risen in many different ways in intent to seek personal information or seeking financial results by deceiving others in the process. Fraud is best defined as an intentional deception in which can help gain a higher financial status or falsifying information to trick their victims into believing every word they say to gain bank accounts information and personal information to steal identity and money. However, fraudsters have evolved over the years as well as society. These fraudsters have developed new scams. In this case, we will go more in-depth on phone call scams, email scams, signs of these scams, ways to protect yourself, and famous email and phone.

There are different signs to look for in these phone call scams and email scams. For instance, in an article, The 8 most sophisticated phone scams right now the average person falls for by Lippo said, "40% of Americans in their 20s reported fraud that caused them to lose money, while 18% of fraud victims aged 70 or older said that they’d lost money to a scam." (Lippo, 2019) The reason for this is because these victims fall in the scams that they may owe money to a government agency or loan distributor that if they do not pay there will be a warrant out for their arrest. This is significant because these victims hear an arrest warrant that they decide to pay with their credit card through the phone call. The fraudster then gets a hold of the credit card and tends to use the money from their victims for their own use. While email scams can display a great opportunity in investing or offers that are free. These are great signs of email scams because when something seems too good to be true it tends to be. This is significant since numerous people fall victim to these emails thinking they are getting a great offer or opportunity and get their information stolen.

There are ways to protect yourself from these scammers/fraudsters. For instance, by simply not answering these emails and phone calls. The reason for this being a way to protect yourself is because you not answering these random phone calls and emails stop the chances of you giving your personal information out. This is significant because it stops the fraudster's intention of seeking personal information. As a result, we can conclude signs of phone and email scams and ways to protect ourselves from scams.

Signs for Recognizing Email and Phone Scams

As time passes, technology becomes more advanced. Unfortunately, fraudsters become more advanced too and use this new technology to their advantage. This means that it can be harder to immediately spot whether something is legitimate or a scam.

Email scammers tend to adhere to these basic schemes:

  • Offering "free" goods
  • Investment opportunities
  • Easy money or "get rich quick" opportunities
  • Health and diet schemes
  • Chain letters
  • Fake business opportunities

This doesn't mean that every email about an investment opportunity or a diet trend will be a scam. It does mean that you should use your common sense to determine the legitimacy of these opportunities. Emails allow scammers quick and easy access to millions of people. All it takes is one wrong click to lose everything, so it's crucial that you can recognize when something seems a little off.

Phone fraudsters often pose as representatives of government agencies, major tech firms, travel and retail companies, charity fundraisers, or even family members. Here are some ways to tell if the call is genuine or if you've got a scammer on the line.

  • Government agencies or tech firms (like Apple or Microsoft) will rarely call you unless they have previously contacted you in some other way or unless you have reached out to them first.
  • Calls claiming to raise money for a charity right after a disaster has occurred are commonly a scam.
  • An automated call from a company that doesn't have authorization to contact you is most likely robocall and a scam.
  • Calls offering opportunities that seem too good to be true usually are.

Again, this doesn't mean that you should pass on every good opportunity that comes your way. It just means you should exercise caution in your dealings and use good judgement.

Steps to Help Ensure You're Not a Victim

While there isn't a way to 100% guarantee you won't be a victim of these schemes, there are some easy steps you can take to better protect yourself.

  • Filter your spam
  • Approach unsolicited emails and phone calls with caution
  • Install anti-virus software on your devices
  • Ask telemarketers to slow down, repeat information, and answer follow up questions
  • Place your number on the FTC's National Do Not Call registry
  • Don't answer phone calls from random numbers or private callers
  • Don't give out personal or financial data over the phone

Famous Email and Phone Scams

By now in the article you can see how common these calls/emails occur and we receive them everyday. We have seen what to look out for and how to protect ourselves. There are many examples on the internet on how these scams can make a turn for the worst. I list below some of the most famous scams and results.

Business Email Scam


A local business was scammed when their office suppliers email had been hacked and they had just paid an order to them. The hacker had gone through past emails and made an exact replica of the receipts and bank orders and used them for proof that they were the real deal. The hacker had contacted the local business with look alike bank statements reporting that they owed extra that month and kept doing it for several months. Overall the small company lost $190,000 in supplies they were never receiving. This could have been solved with a simple phone call to the supplier or the supplier keeping track of their emails and passwords but unfortunately they didn't and it cost the local business

Famous Phone Scam


A common famous phone scam is the IRS. We all do taxes and we hope whoever does them let it be H and R Block or your parents or even yourself that you do them right the first time otherwise there is that fear of doing them wrong and actually owning this whole time. We all have that fear and this particular scams takes notice. This Scammer system acts as if they are the IRS and they know your name due to public access to your number AKA a phone book. They address you by name and city and claim you owe thousands of dollars to the IRS which like I mentioned before is a common fear people who participate in society fear. Creating a feeling of panic and asking the representative on the phone what to do. They say it's not a big deal just to pay the fee and they conveniently can do it over the phone by asking for your social and banking information. Which leads to money loss because they wipe your account clean so beware the IRS will most likely contact you through email you use on your taxes or by physically mail with a number to call and information to confirm that it is you.

Phone and email scams can happen to anyone. Make sure to take safety precautions and take notice when emails or phone calls ask for money. Refer to our "Steps to Help Ensure You're Not a Victim" for advice.