As helpful as the internet is, it can be just as dangerous to those who are naive.
We’ve all gotten emails, spam messages in our Facebook or Twitter messages, that claim to have a world of riches for us. Free vacations, easy money, a GREAT deal that you’d be crazy to pass up!…Unfortunately for some, these offers are too hard to resist and they find themselves in big trouble.
Take a look at the following pages and see testimonies and tips on how to protect yourself.
Have you ever received an email stating that you’ve won the lottery in some other country, usually with a total of a few million dollars? If so, you know all about lottery scams. These scams target people with the promise of millions of dollars, which will be deposited into their bank accounts after completing a few easy steps. However, the catch is that you must pay thousands of dollars ahead of time before you receive your promised millions. Sadly, once you hand over your thousands, your lottery win is nowhere to be found, and you’re out money. Though it seems silly, what’s a few thousand dollars compared to a couple million?
Recently, disaster relief scams have been on the rise. In a country’s time of need, money is usually the best donation to provide, and scammers have become well aware of this. Generally, these scammers will send out emails with a link to a fake donation website that asks you to make a donation, usually by using your debit or credit card online. However, by providing this information, such as your card number, the scammers have access to your information which could then provide them access to your money. In the end you’re out of money, some scammer has your information, and you never really donated to the real cause. Make sure you donate your money to a reliable organization, at the correct web address. If your request for a donation came through email, it’s probably a phishing scam. Take the time to research a real relief fund before you donate money.
Today, online dating websites have become extremely popular. Participants set up a dating profile on one of the online dating websites that promise to give you access to hundreds of potential partners. Be warned, that this also gives online scammers access to you! For example, let’s say one of the fellow members messages you, and over time the connection grows and becomes pretty strong. The member has led you to believe that he or she is pretty well off. Next, your online boyfriend or girlfriend tells you that he/she is out of the country doing business and needs your assistance with a few things. The scam starts when that person wants you to cash a money order and wire the money. Those who fall for the scam are hurt both emotionally and financially.
Have you ever been to a legitimate website and had a sudden pop-up that says something along the lines that your computer if infected with viruses and worms and needs to be cleaned ASAP? This is another popular scam today as many people will fall for the pop-up and then download the rogue software, usually software that looks like it is legitimate anti-virus software that promises to clean your computer of all of the viruses. Though many times this rogue software is free, there are times when the program does cost money, and people do fall for it. While many people generally aren’t out of money with this scam, their computer is infected with even more viruses, Trojans, worms, and other things that can not only ruin the computer, but can have their private information exposed to the scammers.
“Free” Vacation Scams
It’s safe to say that in today’s world, many people are cutting out their yearly vacation in order to make ends meet at home. And while people are giving up their travels, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily want to, and it surely doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t take a vacation deal if someone offered it to them. This is why scammers who run travel and vacation scams are cashing in each day. Unknowing consumers will seek out a vacation deal, usually one that is seriously too good to even begin to believe. Something like a trip to Disney, all expenses paid, you just give us a few hundred dollars. Who would believe that? Sadly, some people do. These scams aren’t as popular as before, as people have smartened up, but at the same time they’re also on the rise, as more and more people are looking for ways to continue their normal lifestyles, and that usually comes in the form of saving money and attempting to find any type of deal that may be out there to enjoy.
With the popularity of places such as eBay, Craigslist, and other auction websites growing each day, it’s no surprise that fake auctions and fake sales would start to become an issue online. Many people use these websites on a daily basis to obtain items at a discounted price; and where you find people with money, you will also usually find scammers trying to take it off their hands. At first, it looks like an opportunity to save money, but in the end many people are left empty-handed and out some bucks. These fake auction and sales scams usually happen pretty frequently and in the blink of an eye. It’s simple. The scammer creates an ad or auction on a website, stating that he has a certain item for sale, usually something that is pretty expensive to begin with, for a very low price. The scammer knows that people will jump all over this “deal,” without even stopping to think that it could be fake and just a luring act for money. Plenty of people fall for it, making this particular scam a huge success.
We’ve all seen the ads and pop-ups on certain websites that promise a free trial of some sort of product: weight-loss pills, a colon cleanse, or dieting pills. We all know how expensive these products can be, so many people will fall for the free trial scam. While many do get the free product they were promised, the scam starts when you have to provide your banking information to pay for shipping and handling fees. With the information you provide, the company can then charge you each month for not canceling your free trial. Usually the cancellation notice is in a very fine print that most people pay no attention to. However, after not canceling your free trial within 15 or 30 days, your debit or credit card is billed monthly. Sometimes even after canceling, the company who has your banking information will sell it to an affiliate company who can then use it as they please.
Work From Home, Get Rich Scams
Not only do these scams mean you’re out of money, but it could mean that your computer is left nothing short of…ruined. These scams usually have a situation where you are given the opportunity to work at home, making your computer a “money-making machine” by doing very simple things. However, you aren’t told what these things are and how to locate them on the Internet without paying a few dollars. The catch is that you’re paying for information that you often don’t receive, or that often has nothing to do with working from home. Often times you are guaranteed that within 24 hours you’ll have full access to information and programs that allow your computer to make money for you, without much effort on your part. But this is just another scam and you’ve provided your banking information, and many times you’ve installed rogue software that will only ruin your computer.
Many times with these PayPal scams, one is scammed when they have someone respond to an online ad they have placed on Craigslist or some other similar site. The scammers will usually respond to the ad, stating that they are interested in the product that is being sold and that the product will be sent to a friend or family member within the U.S. Many times these scammers are people from a foreign country who are promising to pay more money than what the seller asked for in the first place. After shipping the item and after the seller pays, you’ll realize that soon enough, PayPal has taken the money from your account, and that you’re out of the item you were trying to sell. Many times the “buyer” will contact PayPal saying that they never received the item, or in even worse cases, the scammer will be using a fake PayPal address or a stolen account.
Nigerian 419 Scams
Most people today have an email account that they use for various purposes. Of course there are the occasional spam emails that many of us just put into the junk folder, but on some days, we get an email that is really shocking. If you’ve ever received an email, usually from a Nigerian member of a family that comes from a lot of wealth stating that they are attempting to get a very large amount of money out of the country, you were a possible-victim of the Nigerian 419 scam. Usually these emails call out for your help in order to get this money moved into the U.S.
But, these emails are nothing less than a scam. It is said that over $32 billion has been lost. The Nigerian 419 scams are one of the most popular today, and the number of scammers who use this tactic continues to grow. It is said that there are about 300,000 of these scammers in the world today, but the number is steadily increasing.