Common Internet Scams and How to Avoid Them
Internet scams are fraudulent business schemes cropping up through the misuse of the Internet services. These scams lure prospective victims into fraudulent transactions and try to breech the security of financial institutions. Internet scams generally occur through e-mails, messages, different websites, and chat rooms. They have become very common due to the increased and the convenient ways of online monetary transactions through different e-commerce sites and financial institutions. To avoid Internet scams, it’s necessary to know more about them. Here’s a look at some of the common Internet scams.
The Nigerian Scam tops the list of the Internet scams in the past decade. It’s known as the Nigerian Scam because it originated from Nigeria. Through the years, many people have received false e-mails from deposed Nigerian princes or people in high places seeking help to transfer a bulk of money out of the country. For their efforts, they are promised a huge cash reward but they would eventually end up being conned into depositing monies into some bank account, never hearing from the Nigerians again.
Lottery Scams are sent to many people through their e-mail announcing that they had won a large sum of money. The recipient can only claim the prize after paying some upfront costs in the form of bank fees or other fees, ultimately going to scammers.
Disaster Relief Scams usually come through e-mail. The sender requests for a donation which goes to relieve victims of an earthquake, tsunami, hurricanes, or other natural disasters. When the recipient responds and deposits a sum of money, it would never reach the victims of disasters but the scammers.
In the Item Sale Scam, a car or any expensive item is listed by a person for sale. Somebody offers a much higher price. After striking a deal, fake money orders are sent to the concerned person. In such cases, the seller ultimately loses the car, extra money for shipment, and also a heavy penalty to the bank for the fake check.
Phishing is the current trend of digital theft that asks for secret bank passwords and ATM numbers from unsuspecting victims. Usually, the victims would receive a request by a “bank” to confirm their identity. They would then be directed to phony web pages which may look very authentic where they would enter their personal information and passwords. After this, the scammers would have access to their accounts.
Employment Search Scam offers a lucrative overseas job from an unknown organization. After checking the posted resume through authentic job sites, the scammers ask for personal information such as the bank account number. The scammers would then use this information to withdraw money from the bank.
Travel Scams come with attractive offers for some luxurious vacation. To enjoy heavy discount rates, the victims are asked to book quickly due to limited vacancies. Once the booking is made, the money goes to the scammer and the victims end up with nothing.
Sometimes, offers are also made through chain e-mails referring to a particular brand giving away “free” laptops or smart phones. The recipients are requested to log in to a particular site, disclose personal information, and make some initial payments, which ultimately would only benefit the scammer.
Donation Scams are carried out in the same manner as disaster relief scams where the donations made by people go into the wrong hands.
Bogus Virus Alerts are accompanied with a number of links of known sites through an anonymous sender. Clicking on these links or downloading the files would result in downloading malware and virus which can harm the computer.
Through “Make Money Fast Chain E-mails”, chain mails are sent to a number of recipients with a long list of names, which are not authentic, requesting to send a few dollars to few of them and at the same time the recipient must mention his own name at the top. This chain will continue and the recipient may become a millionaire by investing just a few dollars. Sounds enticing?
The Guaranteed Loan or Credit Card Scam offers the mail recipients the chance to secure a loan or a credit card. There’s no need to check the recipient’s credit history. To secure the loan or credit card, the recipients just have to send in a sum of money as advance payment. Obviously, the advance payment is gained by the scammers.
Warning Signs of Internet Scams
Internet scams in the guise of e-mails often carry incomplete or wrong information about the sender. Some business opportunities also come through any reputed business organizations bearing the logos, which can be copied easily. Offers of making thousands of dollars without any work seem to be the greatest Internet scam. When you receive an offer which seems too good to be true, you should know that it’s most likely a scam.
Avoiding Internet Scams
It is always advisable not to click any suspicious links, make any online payments, or disclose the bank secrets to unknown parties. Enough protection must be provided to the computer by installing good antivirus, firewall, and other security software, many ISPs offer virus protection and firewall options when you sign up for their high speed internet services. In the US internet providers offering free security with their internet plans include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Internet, AT&T plans and Verizon Internet plans amongst other ISPs.