The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for issuing and enforcing rules for consumer issues on Internet. As part of this process, FTC has published a list of 12 scams you are most likely to receive as email.
The Dirty Dozen Scams
The "dirty dozen" are:
1. Business opportunities
These business opportunities make it sound easy to start a business that will bring lots of income without much work or cash outlay. The solicitations trumpet unbelievable earnings claims $1,000 a day or more without doing any work. Many business opportunity solicitations claim to offer a way to make money in an Internet-related business. Short on details but long on promises, these messages usually offer a telephone number to call for more information. In many cases, you'll be told to leave your name and telephone number so that a salesperson can call you back with sales pitch.
The scam: Many of these are illegal pyramid schemes masquerading as legitimate opportunities to earn money.
2. Bulk email
Bulk email solicitations offer to sell you lists of email addresses, by millions, to which you can send your own bulk solicitations. Some offer software that automates sending of email messages to thousands or millions of recipients. Others offer service of sending bulk email solicitations on your behalf. Some of these offers say, or imply, that you can make a lot of money using this marketing method.
The problem: Sending bulk email violates terms of service of most Internet service providers. If you use one of automated email programs, your ISP may shut you down. In addition, inserting a false return address into your solicitations, as some of automated programs allow you to do, may land you in legal hot water with owner of address's domain name. There are also very strict rules, known as CAN-SPAM Act, regulating bulk email marketing. 3. Chain letters
You're asked to send a small amount of money ($5 to $20) to each of four or five names on a list, replace one of names on list with your own, and then forward revised message via bulk email. The letter may claim that scheme is legal, that it's been reviewed or approved by government; or it may refer to sections of U.S. law that legitimize scheme.
The scam: Chain letters are almost always illegal and nearly all of people who participate lose their money. The fact that a "product" such as a report on how to make money fast may be changing hands in transaction does not change legality of these schemes.
4. Work-at-home schemes
Envelope-stuffing solicitations promise steady income for minimal labor-for example, you'll earn $2 each time you fold a brochure and seal it in an envelope. Craft assembly work schemes often require an investment of hundreds of dollars in equipment or supplies, and many hours of your time producing goods for a company that has promised to buy them.
The scam: You'll pay a small fee to get started in envelope-stuffing business. Then, you'll learn that email sender never had real employment to offer. Instead, you'll get instructions on how to send same envelope-stuffing ad on your own. If you earn any money, it will be from others who fall for scheme you're perpetuating.
5. Health and diet scams
Pills that let you lose weight without exercising or changing your diet, herbal formulas that liquefy your fat cells so that they are absorbed by your body, and cures for impotence and hair loss are among scams flooding email boxes.
The scam: These gimmicks don't work. The fact is that successful weight loss requires a reduction in calories and an increase in physical activity. Beware of case histories from "cured" consumers claiming amazing results and testimonials from "famous" medical experts you've never heard of.
6. Effortless income
The trendiest get-rich-quick schemes offer unlimited profits exchanging money on world currency markets; newsletters describing a variety of easy-money opportunities; perfect sales letter; and secret to making $4,000 in one day.