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Glossary of Scam and Fraud Terms

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This glossary of terms and definitions covers scams and frauds commonly seen on the internet, computers, postal mail and telephone. Click on the links for more detailed explanations.
419 Scam
se "Nigerian Scam"



A type of software that often comes with free downloads. Some adware displays ads on your computer, while some monitors your computer use (including websites visited) and displays targeted ads based on your use.

Advanced Fee Fraud

AFF - a very common scam in which a fee is demanded from the victim in advance of the victim receiving a lottery winning, a loan, money from a dead relative, etc. Often these scammers are based in Nigeria, the Netherlands or China.

Anti-Fraud Bureaus

Government functions agencies dedicated to notice, investigating and deterring insurance fraud. Fraud agency and insurance company Special Investigative Units, or SIU's, work intimately with law enforcement and organization such as the National Insurance Crime Bureau [NICB], which employ valuable analysis and forecasting techniques for the discovery and prevention of insurance fraud.

Anti-virus Software

Protects your computer from viruses that can destroy your data, slow your computer's performance, cause a crash, or even allow spammers to send email through your account.

Application Fraud

This type of fraud can happen when a vehicle owner mis-states information significant to obtaining a policy. For example, using the address of a friend or relation that is closer to their place of work in order to obtain a inferior insurance premium, or railing to include young drivers on the application.



Blind Trust

A faith in which the trustees are not allowed to offer any information to the beneficiaries about the administration of the assets of the trust.

Blocked Funds

Term for "reserving" funds by one bank for the benefit of another bank. Blocking of funds is an frequently used banking procedure to ensure that the same funds are not used twice. Often more beneficial to a depositor than a bank assurance.


Any interest-bearing or economical government or corporate security that force the issuer to pay the holder of the bond a specified sum of money, typically at specific intervals, and to repay the principal amount of the loan at maturity. A protected bond is backed by guarantee, whereas as an unsecured bond or debenture, is backed by the full trust and credit of the issuer, but not by any specified collateral.


A mediator. An individual or organization in-between the person/organisation that controls the funds and the contributor/trader. A broker often knows someone who knows somebody else who may provide program trading. This chain of brokers is known in the business as a "daisy chain". There are thousands of "want-to-be"-, "hope-to-be"- and "wish-they-were"brokers in the high-yield business who are giving the industry a bad name.

Business Opportunities (or Bizopps)

Schemes that typically involve extravagant and unfounded earnings claims and are actually fraudulent business ventures.


A program that allows a user to find, view, hear, and interact with material on the Internet.

Browser Hijacker

A common spyware program that changes your web browser's home page automatically, even if you change it back.


An investor who has bought a security in the trust to make a profit from rising prices.


Funds provided to enable operating management to obtain a product line or business, which may be at any stage of development, from either a public or private company.




A law that prohibits senders of unsolicited commercial email from using false or misleading header information or deceptive subject lines, and requires they identify each email as an advertisement, among other provisions.

Capitalization Issue

The procedure whereby money from a company's reserves is converted into capital and then distributed to shareholders as new shares, in percentage to their original holdings, also known as bonus or scrip issue.

Cashiers Check (or Cheque)

A check from the banks own account, supposedly the most secure type of check. Unfortunately, these are very easily counterfeited. Always confirm all aspects of the check with the issuing bank before considering it to be valid.

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

A deposit with a fixed time period and a fixed rate of interest.

Chat Room

The name given to a place or page in a website or online service where people can type messages which are displayed almost instantly on the screens of others who are in the "chat room."


The fee that a broker charges clients for dealing on their behalf.

Contract Exit for Non-performance

A circumstance in a financial agreement that enables the investor to take back his funds if the result represented is not achieved.

Contract Note

The day that a transaction takes place, the broker sends the client a document detailing the deal, including full title of the stock, price, consideration and stamp duty.

Computer Fraud

Computers are being used extensively in financial crimes, not only as an instrument of the crime, but to "hack" into data bases to retrieve account information; store account information; clone microchips for cellular telephones; and scan corporate checks, bonds and negotiable instruments, that are later counterfeited using desktop publishing methods. In 1986, Congress revised Title 18 of the United States Code to include the investigation of fraud and related activities concerning computers that were described as "federal interest computers," as defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 1030.


A small text file that a website can place on your computer's hard drive to collect information about your activities on the site or to allow other capabilities on the site.

Credit Risk

The risk that a counter party to a transaction will fail to perform according to the terms and circumstances of the contract, thus causing the holder of the claim to suffer a loss.


Used to distinguish the physical world from the digital, or computer-based world.


Denial of Service (DoS) attack

Where a hacker sends attachments or other unusual or excessive traffic in a crack to bring down email systems.

Dictionary attack

A program that attacks a mail server with millions of alphabetically generated email addresses in the hope that some addresses will be estimated correctly. This technique is also used to crack passwords

Directory Harvest Attack (DHA)

When a spammer attacks a domain with thousands of generated email addresses in an attempt to collect valid email addresses from an organization.


A segment of Internet space, denoted by the function or type of information it includes; current domains include ".com" for commercial sites, ".gov" for governmental ones, and ".org" for non-commercial organizations.

Domain Name System Block Lists (DNSBL)

Profitable lists of networks that either allow spammers to use their systems to send spam, or have not taken action to stop spammers from abusing their systems.


To copy files from one computer to another; to view a website or other web material with a browser.

Drive-by Download

Software that installs on your computer without your knowledge when you visit certain websites. To avoid drive-by downloads, make sure to update your operating system and Web browser regularly.




The scrambling of data into a secret code that can be read only by software set to decode the information.

End User Licensing Agreement (EULA)

A provider's legal terms. You, as the "end user," may be required to "click" to accept before you can download software.


When sensitive data is released to someone without authorization.

Extended Service Set Identifier (ESSID)

The name a manufacturer assigns to a router. It may be a standard, default name assigned by the manufacturer to all hardware of that model. Users can improve security by changing to a unique name. Similar to a Service Set Identifier (SSID).



False negative

When anti-spam software fails to recognize a spam message as spam.

False positive

When anti-spam software incorrectly identifies a legal message as spam.


A scam meant to cheat victims out of the fair settlement of an agreement by misleading and misrepresenting the facts, method or outcome, with no intent to fulfill the agreement.

Fudiciary officer

A misspelling of "Fiduciary officer". Scammers, being largely uneducated criminals, frequently misspell this in their scams. No legitimate company would make this mistake!




Senders who are not block-listed or allow listed can be located on a greylist. Some anti-spam software can send greylisted addresses an automated response, challenging the sender to verify their authority.




Someone who purposely break computer security, usually to cause disruption or gain secret information such as financial details. Initially the word "hacker" referred to any person who was into computer technology, but is now commonly used by the public and media to refer to those who have malicious goal.


All email that a receiver does not consider to be spam.

Hardcover insurance policy

There is no such thing. This is a term made up by scammers to make victims believe that the victim must pay additional fees to receive a prize or winning.


The procedure of scanning the internet to identify email addresses in order to create lists for spamming.


A computer system on the internet set up to attract and catch spammers and hackers. Typically this is a mailserver set up to appear to be an open relay.



Joe job

A Joe job is a spam operation forged to appear as though it came from an innocent party, with the purpose of incriminating or pinning blame onto that party. The innocent party can also suffer from a flood of email bounces reasoned by the spam campaign.




The method of removing email addresses from a mailing list at the request of the receivers.



Mail drop

An email address set up to accept email resulting from spam sent from a different ISP. The spammer will cancel the account from which the spam created in an attempt to avoid detection.


Any software program developed for the purpose of doing damage to a computer system or to create misbehavior.

Man-in-the-Middle Attack

Cyber criminals eavesdrop on electronic communication between a consumer and a legal organization.



NDR spam

Uses a faked standard email non-delivery report (NDR) that a receiver will think is authentic, tricking them into opening an attachment that is spam. Spammers can send such an NDR directly or make a genuine server send it for them, adding to its credibility.

Network check (also known as reverse DNS check)

When an anti-spam engine uses a Domain Name System database to check an email's IP address to make sure that it create from a valid domain name or web address.


An electronic forum where readers post articles and follow-up messages on particular topics. Often under attack by spammers seeking to harvest email addresses.

Nigerian Scam

Con artists pretend to be officials, businesspeople, or the surviving spouses of former government honchos in Nigeria or other countries whose money is somehow tied up for a limited time. They offer to transfer lots of money into your bank account if you will pay a fee or "taxes" to help them access their money. If you respond to the initial offer, you may receive documents that look "official." Then they ask you to send money to cover transaction and transfer costs and attorney's fees, as well as blank letterhead, your bank account numbers, or other information. They may even encourage you to travel to Nigeria or a border country to complete the transaction. Some fraudsters have even produced trunks of dyed or stamped money to verify their claims.




Spammers' attempts to hide data to prevent its discovery. Also, when email receiver use HTML or Javascript to unclear mailto links and email addresses so that addresses remain readable and clickable, but cannot be harvested.


The process of approving to receive email from a business source. Double opt-in refers to a double-check method in which a decision to be included on a mailing list is confirmed.


The process of declining to receive email from a business source or unsubscribing if the receiver is already on a mailing list.




This involves stealing the contents of a website by copying some of its pages, placing them on a site that appears to be genuine, and having the contents indexed by major search engines, so that unsuspecting users can be tricked into linking to the illegal site.


(Pronounced 'fishing'.) This involves creating a copy of a genuine web page to hook users and trick them into submitting personal or financial information or passwords.


This involves illegitimately breaking into the telephone network to make free long-distance phone calls or to tap phone lines. This expression is also used to include the act of breaching the security of any network.




Software that spammers use to automate spam campaigns, manage spam services, and generate, send and track spam messages.

Real-time Block List (RBL)

This differs from a block list in that it dynamically boycotts TCP/IP addresses known to send spam or host spammers. Enabling such a list results in all mail from those addresses being refused, including legitimate email. This can, however, result in innocent users difficult to their ISPs and those ISPs enacting stronger anti-spam measures in order to get the RBL ban lifted.




A confidence trick, confidence game, or con for short (also known as a scam) is an attempt to intentionally mislead a person or persons (known as the mark or victim) usually with the goal of financial or other gain. The confidence trickster, con man, scam artist, con artist or scammer often works with an accomplice called the shill, who tries to encourage the mark by pretending to believe the trickster. ...


one who creates or perpetrates scams

Social Networking Sites

Websites that let users to build online profiles; share information, including personal information, photographs, blog entries, and music clips; and join with other users, whether it be to find friends or land a job.

Sock Puppet

A secret alias used by a member of an Internet community, but not recognized by that person.


Unsolicited commercial email, often sent in bulk quantities. Also see zombies, below.


Someone who sends unsolicited commercial email, often in bulk quantities.


A software program that may be installed on your computer without your permission to monitor your use, send pop-up ads, send your computer to certain websites, or record keystrokes, which could lead to identity theft.


A sweepstakes is an advertising or promotional device by which items of value are awarded to participating customers by chance, with no purchase or entry fee necessary to win and NO FEES or taxes to be paid earlier to receiving the prize(s). If any purchase or payment is necessary to collect winnings, then, by definition, it cannot be a sweepstakes or promotion, but may be a lottery. It is not possible for an event to be both a lottery AND a sweepstakes.

Sweepstakes Scams

A sweepstake is technically a lottery in which the prize is business through the tickets sold. In the United States the word has become related with promotions where prizes are given away for free. In other words, they exclusively do not require a purchase to enter.

Social Engineering Scams

A scam that preys upon our recognition of authority and willingness to assist with others.

Social Networking Sites

Never under any conditions should your child or young teenager agree to meet in person someone from one of these sites

Software Piracy

The banned use and/or distribution of software protected under intellectual property laws.


It Also well-known As Ping Spam, Trackback Spam.

Description:Many people like to be awared when there is a new posting on their favorite blog, so they sign up to have "ping" messages sent when there is new content. A increasing scam on the Internet is to create fake blogs - Splogs - and rake in ad profits. The more people that get sucked into clicking links on a Splog page, the higher the illegal take. To create traffic to the Splog, the scammers send out Sping, which is accurately spam from the fake site. Sping messages masquerade as ping messages.

Spam trap

Spam trap is an email address set up by a spam fighter to capture unwanted email ads for the purpose of tracking spammers. A spam tram is also an option on an online form that is pre-selected by default, so that innocent users opt-in to receive spam. It can also be used to refer to a software filter that blocks email addresses known to send spam.


Also well-known As:SPam over Internet Telephony, SpIT.

Description: As rising numbers of people use Voice Over IP (VoIP) to make telephone calls, experts predict criminals will pay more concentration to this technology. This hope is based on the history of computing and the Internet. For example, the number and severity of problems caused by viruses, spam, spyware, and denial-of-service attacks closely followed the growth of the online population. There is no reason to believe that VoIP will be any different. The major current threat for VoIP systems is denial-of-service attacks. SpIT - spam that will clog voice mail boxes - and hackers gaining the aptitude to eavesdrop on calls are lesser concerns for the next several years. What do you call a VoIP spammer? The answer is spitter.


Also well-known As:Spam Blogs, Link Spamming, Spamdexing, Search Engine Spamming.

Description: The word Splog refers to a spam campaign directed against blogs. The people who Splog are Sploggers. Why would Sploggers want to Splog? The answer is money. And the key to sympathetic this spamming-type scam rests with how search engines rate Web sites.


Also well-known As: Pharming, Phishing.

Description: Spoofing is when a person imagine to be a business or organization in order to gain access to a computer user's sensitive information such as bank account, credit card, and Social Security numbers. Spoofing scams usually arrive via email, appear to be authentic and recommend immediate action to update personal information.


Spy-Phishing is a relatively new Internet threat. In a successful Spy-Phishing attack, a Trojan and/or Spyware are downloaded onto your computer from a Phishing message. This can occur if you click on a link or open a document attached to the message. This Malware program is planned to "spy" on the user, discover identity and financial information, and send that information to the group that developed the Spy-Phishing message. Spy-Phishing poses a risk not only to individuals, but also to organizations because the Trojans are well suited to industrial spying.




The use of traffic monitoring to identify remote IP addresses sending a suspiciously large volume of email. Access to the mail system from suspected spam addresses can then be slowed or temporarily suspended.

Teergrube (or tarpit)

An intentionally slow server that aims to trap spammers using yielding programs.

Telecommunications Fraud

Telecommunication fraud losses are predictable at more than a billion dollars yearly. One of the largest "markets" for this type of fraud is the cloning of cellular telephones, a relatively simple process that can be done with the purchase of over-the-counter electronic equipment. When a person convey with a cellular telephone, the telephone emits a burst of electronic information. Within this burst of information is the electronic serial number (ESN), the mobile identification number (MIN) and other electronic identification signals, all of which can be illegally captured through the use of an ESN reader. Once captured, this information is transported through a computer onto microchips in the cellular telephones. These new telephones can be used for up to 30 days before the fraudulent charges are exposed. Cell telephones are being used widely by planned criminal groups and drug cartels, as well as several Middle Eastern groups.


An online seal program. websites displaying the seal have agreed to abide with certain principles about user privacy. You can access the site's privacy policy by clicking on the seal.



Web bug

A small graphic added in an email or web page that alerts a spammer when a message is read or previewed.

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)

A security protocol developed to fix flaws in WEP. Encrypts data sent to and from wireless devices within a network.

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

A security protocol that encrypts data sent to and from wireless devices within a network. Not as strong as WPA encryption.

Wireless Network

A method of connecting a computer to other computers or to the Internet without linking them by cables.

World Gaming Board

There is no such legitimate organization. This is a phrase invented by scammers. The scammers often refer to rules or regulations from the "World Gaming Board"; which is nonsense. Do a Google search and try to find it.

Work-from-Home Scams

Advertisements promise steady income for minimal labor - in medical claims processing, envelope-stuffing, craft assembly work, or other jobs. The ads use similar come-ons: Fast cash. Minimal work. No risk. And the advantage of working from home when it's convenient for you. The ads don't say you may have to work many hours without pay, or pay hidden costs to place newspaper ads, make photocopies, or buy supplies, software, or equipment to do the job. Once you put in your own time and money, you're likely to find promoters who refuse to pay you, claiming that your work isn't up to their "quality standards." The Federal Trade Commission reports that they have yet to find ANYONE who has gotten rich stuffing envelopes or assembling magnets at home, or other similar work-from-home schemes.

World Wide Web

An Internet system which distributes graphical, hyperlinked information through a browser.


A program that reproduces itself over a network and can use up your computer's resources and possibly shut your system down.




Home computers that have been taken over by spammers who then use them to send spam in a way that hides the true source. is dedicated to all the hardworking people who have been scammed by the spammer or 419 scam frauds. Although our site concentrates on providing awareness of Nigerian 419 spam (scam), scam baiting, advance fee fraud, scam phising, also we deal with other types of fraud such as letter spam, e-mail scam, lottery spam as well. You can go through our scam baiting tips, it is just amazing way to deal with the spammer or scammer.

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