June 25, 2024

I receive an alarming number of dubious emails daily. Among them are urgent payment requests from the Geek Squad and notifications of numerous orders from PayPal, although I’ve never opened a PayPal account in my life. Some emails even claim that FedEx and UPS won’t deliver my package unless I click on a link to pay delivery fees. Scammers are indeed crafty.

To give your mind a break, why not indulge in a refreshing round of the [USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle](https://puzzles.usatoday.com/).

Most of my daily emails are clever impersonations or cunning ruses designed to trick me into compromising my personal information. Welcome to the shady side of email.

Playing on Human Greed

When email started to become mainstream in the early 1990s, the Nigerian prince scam was rampant. The scam revolved around an individual posing as a wealthy Nigerian prince with broken English, who wanted to share his newfound wealth with random strangers across the pond. The catch was you had to send an advance payment and provide them with your bank details.

Scam evolution continued unabated with the introduction of newer schemes. Recently, I received an email from Mr. Ubaka Edward, claiming that the United Nations and the Nigeria government decided to compensate all scam victims with $1 million. Other fantastic propositions followed shortly, like an offer from Muammar Gaddafi’s daughter and a windfall from a religious woman in Scotland.

Reflecting on the Better Times

My late father, who died in 2012 at the age of 85, never sent or received an email. As I navigate through my cluttered email box filled with countless scams and endless ads, I’m starting to understand his decision not to engage with digital mail. Purchasing one item online pins you as a lifelong mate, subjecting you to a barrage of endless promotional offers.

A certain dating website insists that I am its prime demographic- a single middle-aged woman. Despite persistent efforts to unsubscribe, I continue to receive their emails. They seemed rather unfazed by my strongly-worded retort.

A Convenient Tool Turned Nuisance

Back when it was first introduced, email was a revolutionary tool. It streamlined professional communication and offered limitless entertainment potential. Fast forward 30 years, and unfortunately, most of the emails I receive are bogus substitutions and fraudulent account suspensions despite never subscribing to those services.

As I grapple with the bitter reality of modern-day email, the notification for a $1,000 Walmart gift card arrival pings. Apparently, another email claims my debt has been canceled, as confirmed by the IRS. The once convenient tool seems to have morphed into an unending fiasco.

Mark Hinson is a veteran writer formerly associated with The Tallahassee Democrat. Feel free to reach out to him at his email: mark.hinson59@gmail.com.

#### Frequently Asked Questions

**1. What are some common email scams?**

Most email scams involve someone impersonating a reputable company or institution and asking you to provide sensitive information or make a payment. Typical scams include fake bills, bogus lottery wins, false account suspensions, and promises of refunds or rewards.

**2. How can I protect myself from email scams?**

The best protection against email scams is vigilance. Don’t open any emails from senders you don’t recognize. Be wary of unsolicited emails asking for personal information, and never click on suspicious links. Lastly, use strong passwords and keep your email software updated.

**3. Why does email get such a bad reputation?**

Email has become notorious for scams, spam, and phishing mainly due to its widespread use as a communication tool. Scammers prey on unsuspecting victims, exploiting their trust or vulnerabilities. However, many providers now offer security features to combat spam, scams, and phishing, and users can employ various strategies to keep their inboxes secure.