What is internet fraud in the form of email? “Phishing” is the name for that practice.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll receive a steady stream of “round-robin” style bulk email on a daily basis, with the majority screened and separated into your junk mail folder automatically by whoever you use as a provider (or, more specifically, their algorithms).

Though some are simply junk, others have a more sinister purpose and are also increasingly finding ways to bypass the filters to reach the main inbox. So, with the aim of documenting what is internet fraud from my experience, I risked PC health and safety to plumb the depths of my junk mail folder to see just what people are attempting to have me “click on” and for what aims.


The results were a surprise – the automatic filtering and content blocking (to keep you from absent-mindedly clicking on a nasty link) undoubtedly makes us safer but it masks the really troubling scale of the use of this method. What is internet fraud doing right now? Growing sophisticated if my mailbox is anything to go by!

  • Some facts and figures from my experiment:

I currently have 132 emails in my junk mail folder which holds them for 10 days before they’re automatically deleted.

This means that I’m receiving on average 13 junk emails a day that fall into five categories:

  • Genuine marketing emails from companies I know and have had dealings with
  • Mass mailer adverts for companies that I don’t know or am not an active customer – possibly genuine but still junk mail so unwelcome anyway
  • Mass mailer adverts which impersonate a known brand with the formatting to match (“spoofs”)
  • Unbranded emails regarding with themes such as stock investments, job opportunities etc. but which, strangely all share the same basic formatting (so look identical anyway but make no attempt at spoofing).
  • Emails from someone we know personally but that was clearly sent by some kind of automated bot program (which again look strangely identical to example 4)


Over 50% of my emails fall into the bottom three categories, every one of which entice me to click on something that will most likely end up with me being worse off in some way.

Whether that is by infecting my computer with malware, talking me to a fake checkout to buy some kind of non-existent goods, or trying to trick me into handing over my login details or other sensitive information for them to then use, each and every one of these emails is an attempt to defraud me – 70+ attempts in the last 10 days alone!

The people distributing these types of email are sticking true to the spirit of “phishing” –  dropping as many lures in the water as they can, in the hope that someone will bite. Just make sure you’re not one of them!