We all get masses of scam and spam emails on everything from supposed invoices to be paid to an unexpected win on a lottery you never entered to the closure of some bank account you probably don’t have to a fortune waiting for you at some international airport.
You may want to reply and tell the lying cheating thieving scammer what you think of him or her or perhaps you want to stop that person and think that telling the Police is the best idea.
What Happens if You Reply to a Scam Message?
It is quite possible that nothing will happen as most scam emails have return email addresses that go nowhere or go to someone whose email address was hijacked for sending out the scam messages, so that innocent person may receive your vitriolic reply.
However, in most cases the following is likely to happen
- Replying to the message tells the scammer that the email address is active so it goes on their “active” email spam address list for sale to other scammers and that results in many more scam messages to you.
- If you bothered to give a detailed reply to the scammer then he or she may take the time to read it and use the information you provided to judge which types of scam you are most likely to fall for, then your name goes at a higher price to scammers looking for your type of person.
- Now the scammer knows that a real person responds at your email address he or she can search for you on the Internet. That will give the scammer more information about you – maybe where you work, your interests, friends and relatives, possibly your address etc. This is all useful for identity theft scams so you may become a target for those scams.
This carries on – there is a lot a scammer can glean from your reply, so it’s really best not to reply however strongly you feel offended by the scams these people perpetrate.
So, What Do You Do?
If it’s a financial scam then report it the FCA at https://www.fca.org.uk/contact#contact-form
Otherwise you can report the scam to the government at [email protected]
They can do little about individual scams but build up records of scams and can pass information on to the relevant Police force where appropriate
Don’t reply to scammers – it just makes their job easier.
If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.