Top 6 Internet Frauds and Scams and How to Avoid Them

by on May 7, 2010

The massive growth on internet has also lead to the growth on internet frauds and scams. The more people indulge in online transactions, more they are vulnerable to fall into these scams. A swindler uses online services like e-mails, chat rooms, message boards, websites, online forms etc. to conduct his fraudulent transactions.

Types on Online Scams:

Online Dating Scam

It’s one of the oldest scams online. As it involves the strongest human emotion “Love“. A scammer will contact you through a dating website, social networking or online chat rooms. The scammer will try to be friendly and will pretend themselves the way you want to see them. Their only motive is to get your money not your love. The swindler will try to gain you trust and affection or maybe sympathy by telling you fake stories about this accidental family, deceased sibling or anything. Sometimes it’s the person of same sex pretending to be the of opposite sex, which is hard to tell if there is no vocal contact

How to spot a dating scam:

  • The scammer will show you a fake profile which will have a very attractive photograph but he/she will not have any other photograph to show you, for which he/she may give you excuses.
  • The person will try to be over friendly and will say “I Love You” too soon.
  • The swindler will share sad stories to melt your heart towards them.

Auction Fraud

The scammer launches an auction on sites like ebay, usually promising a product which is high in quality and low in price. When a buyer makes the payment either he will receive a very cheap quality product which will not keep the promises kept by the seller or he will never dispatch the product.

Tips to help you avoid an Auction scam:

  • Try to find out information about the seller by cracking a telephony conversation with him, take down his office address if he has any.
  • When you see an attractive deal, just ask yourself, is it too good to be real. If you suspect something is not right about this auction, then report it to the respective company.

Phishing Scam

You may receive an email from that completely looks like a Paypal email or your banks email, asking you to reset your password for your account or maybe asking you fill out a form to confirm your details for some security reasons or anything like that to gain your personal information to misuse it against you only. This act of attempting to gain confidential information is called Phishing Scam.

How to avoid Phishing Scam:

  • Always check the email ID which has sent you the email, if the email is from paypal or your bank then it should look like this “xxxxxxxx@paypal.com or xxxxxxx@yourbank.com“. Remember that Paypal or your bank is not going to use Hotmail or Yahoo emails to send you invoices.
  • Don’t just click anything in your email, make sure read read the complete email carefully then follow the instructions.
  • Before filling out any form for a website, check the domain name first, is this the website you are supposed to be filling out the form. Suppose you get an email looking it’s from paypal and this email ask you to fill out a form for some reasons and you click on the link, now, if the email is genuine it should take to some webpage on paypal and the URL should be something like this http://www.paypal.com/xxxxxxxx/xxxxxx ,  if it’s not a paypal URL then you are surely going to be hacked my friend.
  • It’s recommended to type URL manually for official/banking purpose instead of clicking links in your e-mails.

These are some very important and basic things which you should always remember when you give out your personal information on web.

Lottery / Contest Scam

This is one scam which is growing at very high rate. If you use internet regularly and you have also filled up some form online then you must have received a fraud email in you spam folder telling you that you have won a prize in lottery. This is how it works, you will receive an email which will be congratulating you for winning a handsome amount of $5 Million in a lottery, and your eyes will certainly light up when you see such big amount you just won but to receive this amount you just have to pay the transfer charges or in case if it says you congratulations won XBOX or Plasma TV then they will just ask you to pay the shipping and handling charges and your prize will be delivered, which unfortunately is never going to happen.

Things that indicate it’s a lottery scam:

  • First thing you need to ask yourself that when did you enroll yourself for a lottery contest.
  • If you had really won millions in a lottery, would they really be asking you to pay some darn processing fee, wouldn’t they just send it to you straight away.
  • Moreover it’s illegal to play foreign lottery via e-mail.

Reshipping Scam

Scammers target people who are looking for home based business/job, a person will contact you on behalf of some company, which obviously is a fraud company that doesn’t exist. The swindler will ask you to receive a product which actually have been purchased from a stolen credit card and the person will ask you to send that product to his address, in return he offers you a certain percentage or a fixed amount of commission for every reshipping you do. The person might ask you to do the attractive repackaging for the product and say that as your job profile. You might make some good bucks with this home based business until you are held by the cops.

How to find out if it’s a Reshipping scam:

  • Don’t take the offer of home based job straight away, do some research about the company which is offering you the job and find out if the person contacting you is genuine or not.
  • Digg some information on the working of the company and your job profile.
  • Beware of person/company dealing with you from a foreign country.
  • Don’t receive any package, which you never ordered.

Nigerian Letter or 419 Scam

This is a very dangerous scam that anyone can think of. You receive an email from scammer saying that “A large amount of $20 Million have been embezzled by a minister which was for a relief fund and now he wants to get that money out of the country for which your support is needed“. In return he promises to offer you 30% for helping him in this cause. Then you will be asked to do some travelling overseas and spend some money as bribe or other fees which can be in thousands or even millions of dollars of your own personal money. 419 refers to Nigerian penal code which deals with cheating and fraud.

Risks involved in this scam:

  • A victim of this scam can suffer some huge financial losses.
  • A victim travelling abroad to Nigeria might be held hostage and then the scammers can demand huge some of money from the victim’s family as ransom.
  • There have been cases where victims of this scam have been murdered and some have been missing.

How to avoid 419 scam:

  • Never reply to any such e-mail asking you personal bank account information.
  • Don’t indulge in any unethical means of money making such as this.
  • Be cautious of dealing with large sums of money overseas with person/company you don’t know.

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