We all get them. Some well-meaning
friend, relative or co-worker sends a message with a
get-rich-quick scheme. They sound so convincing, but are
they too good to be true? Here are some guidelines
There is no way to track a text-only
email message. A common hoax asks you to
forward on an email to everyone you know. If, for
example, 1000 people receive your email you'll be
rewarded with cash, a free vacation, free
M&M's, etc. In reality, someone is pulling
Microsoft won't send you a check.
Microsoft didn't get to be the richest software
company in the world by handing out money. You
can bet that any email you receive forwarded from
Bill Gates or Microsoft is going to be a hoax.
The same goes for emails from the CEO of Miller
brewing offering free beer and Walt Disney Jr.
offering a free vacation.
You won't get something free.
The lure of valuable, free items like computers
or long- distance phone cards gets consumers to
pay membership fees to sign up with these scams.
After they pay the fee, consumers learn that they
don't qualify for the free gift until they
recruit other "members."
Guaranteed Loans or Credit, On Easy
Terms. Some offer home-equity loans,
even if you don't have any equity in your home.
Others offer guaranteed, unsecured credit cards,
regardless of your credit history. The
"loans" turn out to be lists of lending
institutions and the credit cards never arrive.
Bad credit can't just be
"fixed." For an up-front fee,
they offer to clear up a bad credit record or
give you a completely clean credit slate by
showing you how to get an Employer Identification
Number. No one can erase a bad credit record if
it's accurate and using an Employer
Identification Number to set up a new credit
identity is against the law.
For more about email fraud, check out