Top Online Scams
The term SCAM in the online world has been loosely translated. By definition, a scam is a quick-profit scheme where a person cheats another individual or group out of money by presenting them with false information during a deal or offer.There are many different types of scams that prey on unsuspecting victims. Scammers can approach their victims via email, SMS, and sometimes even a phone to your personal cell number.
One example of this is the lottery scam. In this scheme, a person receives news via phone call or email that they have won the lottery and can retrieve the cash prize after submitting a small processing fee. After submitting the fee, the attacker disappears with the money.Another dangerous scam is called phishing, in which the scammer deceives the victim into forfeiting personal information.
Top 11 Online Scams
Disaster Relief Scam
Every time there is a disaster like the tsunami, a tornado or an earthquake, millions of do-gooders want to do something to help the victims. Scammers take advantage of this by setting up scam charity institutions which rob the money that you wanted to send to the victims of the disaster. Scammers also attempt phishing by sending you donation requests via email where you can click on a link which then leads you to website designed to steal your passwords and other details.
Phony Inheritance Claims
Similar to the lottery scam, these scams revolve around you receiving an inheritance that you previously had no knowledge of. There are a few variations of this type of fraud but the bottom line is they are all scams. Some will write to you telling you they are “estate locators” who have located a long lost inheritance for you. Others might be from someone in Africa claiming to have received a huge inheritance which they want to share with you if you can help them get the money out of the country. The scamsters will typically ask for your bank details so they can deposit the money into your account and once they have those details, they will rob you of your money.
Business Investment Scam
The Business investment is another popular lure scammers use to attract their potential victims. People want to use their savings for a worthwhile investment option. Solicitations for an investment scam can come via email, telephone or even in the mail. Offers include work-at-home jobs and other get-rich-quick schemes, gambling software, opportunities to buy “secret” shares and other too-good-to-be-true schemes.
Have you ever received an email or even an actual letter telling you you’ve won an obscenely large amount in a lottery you never entered? It’s definitely a scam so please do not send them any financial details because you’re just setting yourself up for a fraud or identity theft.
Money Order Cash Requests
The As opposed to some of the other scams, in this type of scam the fraudster takes their time to build a relationship with their victim. After a few months when the scammer is convinced they have formed a bond with their victim, they request the victim to cash some money orders and wire transfer the money to t hem (usually to Nigeria or Ghana). The scammer pretends to be someone from a Western country based in Nigeria for work and hence cannot cash the money orders. This seems harmless enough and most people don’t think twice about it. However, these money orders are often doctored so a $20 money order could have been washed and altered to show a sum of $2000. Once the victim cashes it and wires the money, the bank usually detects a forged money order and the victim is then liable for the entire amount while the scammer gets away scot-free and richer by a few thousand dollars.
Fake Police Scam
It’s terrible being the victim of a scam and the first thing most scam victims do is contact the police in the hope they can actually catch the person who duped them. Sometimes scammers figure out you are onto them but instead of backing off, they take advantage of the situation by pretending to be the police. So say you have been duped by a Nigerian scammer and you contact the Nigerian police for help.
The Nigerian 419 Scams
This breed of scams has been around for a very long time and is known as the advance fee fraud. It has various names such as the Nigerian 419, Nigerian money offer, the Spanish prisoner etc. Similar to the Spanish prisoner scam where the scamster promises to share his fortunes with the victim in exchange for money to bribe the prison guards, the Nigerian 419 has fully come into its own thanks to the availability of email. A scam victim will usually receive an email making an offer of a large sum of money.
Medical Emergency Scam
Another common scam one comes across in online dating is the medical emergency scam. Just when you think your online relationship is going really well, your online partner will be faced with some sort of medical emergency. Variations of these include them needing surgery they can’t afford, treatment for their son’s brain tumor or you may even get a call from someone pretending to be a doctor telling you your partner has been in a serious accident and you need to send money so they can start treatment. Sometimes, the scams are long and stretched out with the scammers attempting to get as much money out of you as possible by cooking up a variety of medical complications. Do not send money if you are in a similar situation because it is probably a scam.
Plane Ticket/ Visa Scam
This is a common ploy used by Russian and Filipino scammers to rob you off your money. The general storyline is she will want to come visit you but does not have enough money and will ask you to send her money to help pay for the plane ticket and/or visa. Once you do send the money however, it is unlikely that the visit will ever actually materialize.
Online Classifieds Scam
Online Classifieds Scam Online classified sites have turned out to be some of the most popular websites for a variety of purposes including dating, buying and selling products and even finding work. Unfortunately they have also become notorious for their scams so if you are using an online classifieds website you should watch out. There are all sorts of scams on these sites including scammers even trying to fool you with overpayment for an item you list for sale. As always, never divulge your financial details and if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
In this type of scam, the fraudsters usually lure the web surfer to a website which seems real and legitimate but in fact is set up to steal personal details, passwords etc. This is often used for identity theft as well. The common guise for phishing these days seems to be to “confirm your identity”. You might receive emails pretending to be from your bank, Paypal, eBay asking you to click on a link so you can confirm your identity. But this link does not lead to the actual website but will instead redirect you to a fake website cloned to look like the original. This information in the hands of scammers puts you at risk of potentially losing thousands of dollars.