Top Phishing Email Scams 2018 You Should Know About

Top Phishing Email Scams

As technology becomes more sophisticated, so do fraudsters. Anyone who uses email on a regular basis will be aware of spam messages that try to elicit personal details, or even money from unsuspecting people who are perhaps not as well educated as they should be. Whilst some scams are easy to spot, others aren’t and it’s good to be aware of the top email phishing scams 2018 that are currently making headlines.

Examples of Email Phishing Scams

Some are definitely more easy to spot than others. Here is an example of a scam email that arrived at one of our email addresses just this week:


I inherited some money ($4.2 Million) from my late husband and I cannot think of anybody trying to kill me apart from my Late husband’s second wife here in Ivory coast in order to inherit the money, she is an Ivorian by nationality.

I want you to contact me back As soon as i hear from you that you are competent to execute my desire, I will instruct my lawyer and the bank management to make the immediate transfer into your account.I will give you the documents of the money and will direct you to my lawyer who will work it out legally for you, the lawyer will assist you to change the documents of the money to your name to enable the bank transfer the money to you.

This is the favor I need when you have gotten the money:-

(1) Give 20% of the money to Churches for the work of God.

(2) Give 30% of the money to handicap people and charity organization, then the remaining one is yours.

And if I don’t hear from you, I will look for another person or an organization.

Please get back to me as soon as possible May Almighty God bless you and use you ACCOMPLISH is my wish.”

This is a classic example of the kind of scam email sent out by chancers who are hoping to prey on vulnerable people. Typically, though not always, the email will come from someone who claims to be somewhere in either Africa or India.

The email address that the message is sent from will bear no resemblance to its country of origin – so it could well end in something similar to this “” which is indicative of a temporary, throw away email address, which is difficult to chase.

Often, in a message such as this, the person will ask that you send personal details such as a bank account, a contact address or telephone number and will then try to extort money.

If you receive anything like this, or remotely similar to it, the best plan of action is to report it and move it to your junk mail folder. Never engage in any conversation, or give any personal information of any description.

A More Sophisticated Phishing Scam

Some scammers are becoming more adept at fooling people. Here is an example of something which really does appear to be a genuine message, but isn’t.

IRS scam

You’ll receive what looks like a genuine communication from the IRS, telling you that you’re entitled to a tax rebate or refund for the current, or a previous tax year. The email will then ask you to ‘visit this link’ to apply for and get your money.

It stands to reason you should never click on, or follow through a link of this kind. The IRS, or any public financial institution won’t ever send messages like this asking people to follow links. You should never be asked via email to verify a tax refund. Any communications of this nature should be carried out via other safer methods.

A second, similar IRS scam involves scammers sending an email saying “you have a tax refund waiting at the IRS or that the IRS needs information about insurance policies”. Again, these emails should be avoided and reported. The IRS never initiates spontaneous contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.

The Fake PDF Scam

PDF attachment scam

Here’s another example of phishing scam email and one that is becoming increasingly popular. There are now lots of infected malformed PDF attachments to emails, just as you can see in the picture above.

Scammers are altering how they deliver malware with these emails and are now attaching a genuine PDF file to an email. They are corrupt and will contain a script virus to infect your computer if you open the PDF.

Users won’t always realise that there is a problem and it can take up to two days before any ill effects show up on an infected computer.

Often times, there might not be any ill effects at all on the computer, but the victim of the phishing will suddenly find their bank or PayPal account is being compromised and they are receiving emails from outlets and businesses saying that products have been sent to either their own home address, or another alternative one specified and money debited from PayPal or Bank/Credit card.

If you receive anything like this, and you’re remotely suspicious, never ever click any links in the email, or open any PDFs. Report and move the email to your junk folder. If you have, by accident then report the email, and make sure to keep a close check on your bank accounts and PayPal too. Take the matter to the police if you know money has been stolen from you, or that your personal details have been compromised in any way.

The Slightly Altered Email Address Name Scam

Lastly, here’s a subtle one that can catch people unawares. You may receive an email message from an address you think you recognize – say you have a friend called John Doe, who has an email address which is “johndoe[at]exampleemail{dot]com”. He messages you regularly and you’re used to seeing his address pop up.

One day, you get an email from “johndos[at]exampleemail[dot]com” you’ll notice that one letter in the name is wrong, but you’ll open the mail and before you know it, it’s too late and your details have been compromised. This is one that catches many people out but again, it’s worth carefully checking any email address before you open it, and if you’re unsure, mark the message as spam and report it.

What to Do If You Think You’ve Been Hit By a Scam Email

It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you have any suspicions at all about an email message, you don’t recognize the address, or someone has contacted you out of the blue saying you are owed vast sums of money, you must always move the email to your junk folder and never click on any links within the message itself. If possible, report the message to your email provider so they can take further steps.

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