There are many types of fraud, and email is an inexpensive and popular method for distributing fraudulent messages to potential victims. According to the US Secret Service, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost annually and the losses continue to escalate. Most fraud is carried out by people obtaining access to account numbers and passwords. Never respond to any message that asks you to send cash or personal information. You won't receive any riches, and in fact you could get into legal trouble if you become involved with one of these scams.
Some of the most common fraudulent messages are non-monetary hoaxes or non-monetary chain mail. Treat these as you would spam. However, if you receive an email message that appears to involve money, or asks for personal information, do not respond.
The FBI and the US Postal Inspection Service, along with other partners, have launched a web site to educate the public about Internet schemes and to provide a central place for consumers to file complaints. The site offers a novel interactive online fraud risk test that lets users measure online safety habits relating to identity theft, financial fraud, Internet auctions, counterfeiting, lottery scams, and computer privacy. It also provides prevention tips, details on current cyber scams, consumer alerts, victim stories, and an opportunity to share stories of cyber fraud. The site is available at:
Some information supplied courtesy of the Indiana University UITS Knowledge Base.