Common Fraud Scams

There are various types of scams on the Internet which prey on a person's good-hearted nature or vulnerability. It is therefore important to keep your guard up and think before divulging sensitive information online or to strangers. Here are a few of the more popular scams circulating on the internet.

Lottery Scam

Have you ever received an email or even an actual letter telling you you've won an obscenely large amount in a lottery you never entered? It's definitely a scam so please do not send them any financial details because you're just setting yourself up for a fraud or identity theft.

Phishing

In this type of scam, the criminals usually lure the web surfer to a website which seems real and legitimate but in fact is set up to steal personal details, passwords etc. This is often used for identity theft as well. The common guise for phishing these days seems to be to “confirm your identity”. You might receive emails pretending to be from your bank, PayPal, eBay asking you to click on a link so you can confirm your identity. But this link does not lead to the actual website but will instead redirect you to a fake website cloned to look like the original.

The Nigerian 419 Scam

This breed of scam has been around for a very long time and is known as the advance fee fraud. It has various names such as the Nigerian 419, Nigerian money offer, the Spanish prisoner etc. Similar to the Spanish prisoner scam where the criminal promises to share his fortunes with the victim in exchange for money to bribe the prison guards, the Nigerian 419 has fully come into its own thanks to the availability of email. A scam victim will usually receive an email making an offer of a large sum of money. The subject lines often read something similar to "From the desk of Mr. [name]" or even "Your assistance is solicited". While the stories may vary slightly, the general plot then talks of a person (usually a corrupt government employee) who has come across a large sum of money and needs your assistance to get the funds out of the country. The money could be cash, gold bullion, blood diamonds, gold dust, checks etc. The sums usually run up to millions of dollars with the victim being promised a huge chunk of it for their "help.” Like all scams, there is a last minute problem and you will be requested to send some money to ensure everything goes smoothly. Needless to say that is the last you will hear of your apparent fortune.

Online Classifieds Scam

Online classified sites have turned out to be some of the most popular websites for a variety of purposes including dating, buying and selling products and even finding work. Unfortunately they have also become notorious for their scams. If you are using an online classifieds website you should be wary. There are all sorts of scams on these sites including scammers even trying to fool you with overpayment for an item you list for sale. As always, never divulge your financial details and if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Now that you know what sort of scams could occur, if a criminal does happen to contact you, you will be able to spot and report them immediately.