No one wants to be scammed. Unfortunately every day people become victims of some sort of a scam. Don’t be the next victim.
You need to be aware of the many different types of scams and how to spot them if you want to avoid being scammed online. There are so many ways you can be scammed. You may be looking for a job, checking your email, searching for a date or simply just buying a toothbrush and later find out you’ve been fooled into giving out your money and/or personal information to someone with the worst intentions.
Being a victim of a scam can be one of the worst feelings of personal violation you can experience. This is especially true if you lose a lot of money, take a major hit to your credit score, or your very private information is publicly exposed.
Know the scam.
- Phishing – Many phishing sites and emails will present a link to a known site along with some clever way of getting you to click on it. When you click this link you will go somewhere other than the site you intend to and may not even know it. A lot of scammers will use these tricks to get you to feel like you are on a site you know. This is potentially dangerous if the site imitates a banking website.
- Auction Fraud – Sites like Ebay and Craigslist are common targets for auction scams. The scammer will try to sell you a knock-off or just never send you the product. Read the ads carefully and check the sellers ratings. You can help protect yourself by using Paypal and/or credit cards with online fraud protection. Never use a debit card!
- Job Postings – Yes. There is no end to the creativity of a scammer. You can’t even look for a job without running into scams. Online job postings are filled with work-at-home scams. Most of these “jobs” require you to buy something to become part of the “secret money making club”. The truth is, you will lose your investment and will later realize you’ve wasted your time.
- Lottery or other winning notifications – Be careful not to get too excited to learn that you’ve won something. I have personally received many emails stating I’ve won a free iPod or the European lottery. The email then states I have to pay shipping on the iPod or pay the taxes in advance for the lottery. If you haven’t even entered in a contest, chances are you didn’t win in one. If you legitimately are a winner, why would you have to pay to receive your winnings?
- Dating websites – Some scammers will pretend to be a hot sexy date. You may spend weeks sending emails back and forth. Eventually they want to meet but can’t afford to make the trip from Sweden or some other distant place. You wire the money and wait for them to show. Oops, you’ve been scammed. Nobody ever shows. In other cases you may be meeting a gold digger that will only show interest when you are spending lots of money on them. Eventually you will go broke and they will disappear.
Spot the Scam
- Misspelled words – Many scammers are foreign and couldn’t spell the word fraudulent to save their life.
- Asking for money – Be wary of anyone asking you for money.
- Unexpected winning – Like I said earlier, If you didn’t enter a contest, chances are you didn’t win one.
- Banks asking for your information – Your bank will never contact you to ask you for your password, bank numbers, or personal information. You almost always exchange any of that information in person.
- Too good to be true – We have all heard the saying. Get rich quick offers, $600 Electronics for $20, you get the idea. It is too good to be true.
- Re-directs to other websites or pop-ups – If you click on a link and end up going somewhere else, you may have clicked a phishing link. If you experience pop-ups on a website that normally doesn’t have them or things look a bit different, look at the address bar to see that you are in the right place.
Stay safe online. Be careful with your sensitive information.
- RipoffReport.com – http://www.ripoffreport.com/ – Scams, Frauds, Reviews And Consumer Complaints
- The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
- Federal Trade Commission Scam Watch – http://ftc.gov/multimedia/video/scam-watch.shtm
- FBI New Scams & Warnings – http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/e-scams