Tell-tail signs that you are about to be scammed with an email or internet offer:

  • The organization making the “offer” has no website and cannot be located with an online search
  • The email or site has no “contact” information
  • The email or site asks for bank account information, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, passport numbers, social security, mother’s maiden name or other personal information.
  • The return email address is a gmail, yahoo, hotmail, ymail, or another free email accounts. Legitimate companies can afford to buy a company domain name which creates their brand, legitimacy and trust.
  • The offer asks you to follow a link to another site and log on to or create an account.
  • You are advised that you have won a prize but you don’t recall entering any contest affiliated with the prize promoters.
  • The email claims you won a lottery.  The catch here is that legal lotteries don’t notify winners by email.
  • Although the email is addressed to your email address, it winds up in your junk mail.  It is usually a bulk mailer that many people worldwide probably also received.
  • The email or site asks for “upfront” money to cover processing and administrative fees.
  • Bait prizes are offered.  However, if these are real prizes, they are often inferior in quality or falsely represented.
  • You are required to travel at your own cost to receive your prize.
  • The offer seems to be filled with hype and exaggerations but offers few details about how the offer works.
  • The offer promises you money, jobs, prizes, lucrative business deals.
  • If the offer seems too good to be true – it is!

Good resources to check out the legitimacy of your “offer” or where to report fraud:


Internet Crime Complaint Center (

Complaints against foreign companies

FBI (whois lookup)