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Online Scams – How to Avoid Online Scams

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Online Scams

Online scam which is also known as internet fraud is a type of fraud or deception which makes use of the Internet and could involve hiding of information or providing incorrect information for the purpose of tricking victims out of money, property, and inheritance

Unfortunately, because anyone can access the web, it’s not just nice people who you will encounter online. There are many people who try to trick you into giving over confidential information so that they can steal from you. It is an unfortunate reality, but when you’re using the internet, you have to be on your guard.

However you shouldn’t let this discourage you from using the web or even purchasing products on the web. You just have to be mindful of what you’re doing and skeptical of what you read on the internet. A good rule of thumb: If it really seems just too good to be true, it may well be!

What online scams all have in common is that they prey on their audiences weakness and ignorance.

Dating and Romance Scam

In 2018, people reported losing $143 million to romance scams—a higher total than for any other type of scam reported to the FTC. The median reported loss was $2,600, and, for people over 70, it was $10,000.

Dating and Romance Scam

Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.

Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging.

The scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. Then, they make up a story and ask for money.

Once they have gained your trust and your defences are down, they will ask you (either subtly or directly) for money, gifts or your banking/credit card details. They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature.

Romance or Dating Scammers comes with different lies. Most often, they’ll say they are:

  • living outside of the United States
  • working on an oil rig
  • in the military
  • a doctor with an international organization

Protecting Yourself Against Dating/Romance Scam

  • Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person.
  • Try to remove the emotion from your decision making no matter how caring or persistent the ‘prospective partner’ is.
  • Do an image search of your admirer to help determine if they really are who they say they are. You can use image search services such as Google or TinEye.
  • Never send money or give credit card details, online account details, or copies of important personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
  • Do not agree to transfer money for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence.

Auction Fraud

Auction fraud is one of the most common internet scams and occurs when you buy something from a marketplace site like eBay, make the payment, but never receive the item. Chasing down the seller often proves fruitless and wastes more time and money.

Scammers can pretend to be selling a product — often very cheaply — just so they can steal your credit card or bank account details. Similarly, they may take your money but send you a faulty or worthless product instead — or even nothing at all.

Protecting Yourself Against Auction Fraud.

  • Ensure the URL code is legit
  • If you see low prices, or discounts above 55 percent, it might be too good to be true
  • Review the copyright date and domain creation date
  • Do not make purchases on young websites

Inheritance Scam

A scammer may contact you out of the blue to tell you that you can claim a large inheritance from a distant relative or wealthy benefactor. You may be contacted by letter, phone call, text message, email or social networking message.

Although you might not be a direct family member, because you share the surname of the deceased, you can take part in a ‘risk-free’ legal process to claim the money and then split it 50/50 with the Attorney.

The letter will ask you to email, phone or fax. Once you make this initial contact with the scammer the story will spiral and spiral.

Of course there is no unclaimed inheritance. You’ll be strung along and asked to pay legal fees, overseas taxes or any type of fee the scammer can think of to extort money from you. if payment is made, the victim will not receive the sum of ‘inheritance’ money promised, nor will they get their money back.

Protecting Yourself Against Inheritance Scam

  • Search online using the names or exact wording of the letter/email to check for past any scam reports.
  • Overall, if you think it’s a scam, don’t respond, as your instincts are probably correct. There are no get-rich-quick schemes in life – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be extremely suspicious if you receive a surprise email/message from anyone telling you that that someone with the same surname as you has died and left behind millions of unclaimed dollars.
  • If you think it’s a scam, don’t respond — scammers will use a personal touch to play on your emotions to get what they want.
  • Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes: if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

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