Before the invention of the internet, people used to get scammed by scam artists and thieves by mail. Although it would take much longer, scammers would still be successful because they were patient and gained their target trust before ruining their lives. Scam artists who operate online are just as devious and just as successful.
In fact, scammers who work online sometimes have more success than scam artists who operate in the real world because when they are online, they can target thousands of people simultaneously. There are multiple ways to scam someone over the internet, but email scams are the most popular.
All a scammer needs to do is get their hands on a list of a thousand or more emails, and they can send scam messages to the entire list for as long as the accounts are still active. Even if their target's email client flags the hacker's email as spam or as a scam email, all the scammer needs to do is close that email, create a new email, and import their list of targets to the new email.
Once a hacker has your personal email account, they can keep bothering you and bothering you until you finally decide to close that account, or they are arrested. And you're more likely to close your email account than they are to be arrested.
The most common way scammers use personal email addresses to scam their targets is through a phishing scam. A phishing scam is when a scammer poses as an entity or service that the target has in an attempt to gain their personal information.
For example, if their target has an account with Bank of America and the scammer finds out about this, a scammer will create an email that looks exactly like a Bank of America email.
In that fake email, the scammer will send an email saying that there is an issue with the target's account, and the only way to resolve the issue is to click on the link below and fill out a form. The target will become concerned that they have an issue with their bank account and will click the link and fill out the form.
The scammer created that form as well. Since the target filled it out, the scammer now has all of their personal information. The scammer can now open and close new accounts in the target's name, transfer money from the target account to their account, and open credit cards and take out loans. With just a few pieces of information, the scammer can ruin the target's life.
Scammers usually get their target's email from unsecured lists from small blogs and apps that sell this information in order to make money.
So, if you ever sign up for an app or service that is not 100% safe, it is best to use a temporary email. All you need to do is have the temporary email service generate a random email address for you and use an email to sign up on the registration form.
The fake email will be one of the emails that the service sells and not your own personal one, so you will be safe.