SPAM emails have been around since email became a standard business tool. It is a very cheap way for fraudsters to get in front of thousands of people. Nigerian Scams (also called 419 scams) have been around for hundreds of years but the internet made it a daily part of our lives. The good news is that many SPAM filters not catch these emails before you see them.
A 419 scam requires you to respond to an email. Even worse for many people were emails that had links to malicious web sites. By just clicking a link on a website you could infect your computer with malware. The rule is to always check the url of the link to make sure it is taking you to a site you recognize.
It might also be an app that is used to send you the link to the malicious site. Recently twitter was hacked and thousands of people were getting messages that looked like they were from friends but were actually from hacked accounts. The bad news is that scammers have not gone away. They have just changed their tactics. A smartphone is a new device that they can target to steal your information or infect your device. This is most commonly in the form of a link in a text message. If opened it takes you to a site designed to collect your personal information.
So now when you get a text on your smartphone think twice before you open up the link. If it isn’t something you asked for then you are safer just deleting the message. It is not worth the risk of losing control of your identity.