An email or Internet scam refers to any online activity that is geared towards cheating someone out of his or her money, data or any other valuables. Every day, millions of people are conned by persons posing as friends or in need of help: in most cases, the help involving finances. It seems cyber criminals have perfected this art, and will exploit your willingness to assist and in the end leave you penniless. It is therefore vital that you guard yourself against these malicious thieves.
How they do it
Online scammers are among the most intelligent people you will encounter. Their convincing power is unrivaled. In most cases, they will start by introducing themselves either via email or via social network messaging platforms. Here, the scammer will declare their willingness to be friends with you. Then, you will be requested to reply to a given email if you are interested. This is the first step crafted to gain your trust. It is advisable that you report this kind of message as spam and leave the conversation at that. If you choose to reply to the given email, you have taken your first step towards being swindled.
The next step is a long story in your email, about their life and how you can be of help with their unending troubles. If you reply to this, you are then requested for some details, for instance, your name, bank account number etc. If you dare to give these, then you are ready to be swindled.
Which are the top five online scams to look out for?
This is commonly referred to as the Nigerian Scam. Here, you will receive a message from a supposedly wealthy family with the request to help them get their huge sums of money out of the country. The online scammer promises very large sums of money in reward if you do a simple unskilled task for them involving a transfer. Their money is usually “held” somewhere, and you are “just” required to take care of the legal and other fees for their money to be released. You should never fall for at any time this hoax. There is usually no money anywhere. The aim of the trick is to suck your wallet bit by bit until it runs dry!
Advanced fees to guarantee loan or credit card
If you are contemplating applying for a “pre-approved” credit card or a loan that stresses an up-front fee, you should be able to see that this is a scam. Here is the truth: banks and other credit card companies do not charge any fees at a sign up. Any applicable fees are charged from the card balance, usually annually.
However, many do not realize this, and they end up paying large amounts of money and waiting forever for the promised loan or credit card. These con artists prey on your financial problems and promise huge amounts of money to help achieve your dreams. In desperation, some people still fall for this trick and end up losing their hard-earned money.
Have you received an email message informing you that you have won some big time money? You must be considering quitting your job now and enjoying the fine things in life while you are still young, right? Well, if you have not received such an email, chances are that one is on the way to your email account as you read this.
Lottery scams are characterized by an email that informs you that you have hit it big. You are then requested very humbly to pay a “small” processing fee to get your money. When the swindlers cash in on your fee, there is no more communication, and that is when most people realize that they have just been swindled. Do not get there. Look out for such scams and avoid them.
Phony web pages and phishing emails
This is the most prevalent Internet and email Scam in the modern day. Here, digital cons ensnare you to divulge password information via persuasive emails and fake web pages. The web pages and emails usually resemble legit credit authorities.
A common hoax employed by these cons is, for instance, that you are told that your account was hacked and that you need to verify it. The online scammers then proceed to provide you with a link where you can easily verify your account. However, once you input your password, it is intercepted by the scammers and used to access and empty your account. It is advisable not to give any information to such suspicious emails. Contact your credit card provider and check with them in case of such a situation.
Items for sale overpayment scam
Listing items for sale online is the norm nowadays. The Internet has made it easier for sellers to connect with buyers more easily. For instance, if you have a car or truck you want to sell, you are sure to find websites that provide listing services that will quickly connect you to a buyer.
However, online scammers know that you are desperate to dispose of your item, and you will definitely consider the highest bidder. Digital scammers are the highest bidders! These cons will send you an email promising to pay you the highest possible price for the item you are selling. They even promise to cater for shipping costs, so long as you send them an equal fee and the item. That is not a bad deal, right? Wrong.
The confidence tricksters send you a money order, very real to the eye. You proceed to deposit it with your bank and ship the item as you wait for it to clear. After a few days, the bank informs you that your money order is fake. It is here that you realize that you have lost your car, money, and you owe the bank big time to cover the bad money order.
How to avoid these scams
Unfortunately, digital con artists are brilliant fellows who choose to make easy money from unsuspecting people. However, you can be a step ahead of their traps. It is advisable that you do not give personal information to “friends” or suspicious companies online. Always think twice when the deal is too good. It might just save you your hard-earned money.
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