ONLINE SCAMS: This informative page explains how to identify 8 of the most common types of Internet frauds. Check out these infamous Internet frauds examples.
There is further guidance on dealing with scams which use specific tactics to target you online. Find out how to protect yourself against these eight Internet fraud types.
The complexity of Internet scams online continue to change in their nature.
More and more online scams happen through the Internet using different forms of cyber technology.
In fact, the most common Internet scams rely on the World Wide Web and email to function. No matter how tech savvy you are, there will always be a new Internet scam to learn about as it comes along.
Advance Fee Fraud
Advance fee fraud is an online scam where fraudsters target victims through the Internet. As a rule the defrauder asks for an advance upfront payment for goods or services. Either way their misleading financial gains do not materialise into any goods or service.
Common types of advance-fee fraud includes:
- Career Opportunity Scams
- Clairvoyant, Psychic, or Mystic Medium Scams
- Online Dating or Romance Scams
- Inheritance Scams or Loan Fraud
- Imposter Fraud or Impersonation of Officials
- Lottery, Prize Draw and Sweepstake Scams
- Work from Home Business Opportunity Scams
When tricksters carry out advance fee scams they usually ask for your bank details. They also ask you to send some upfront money to cover the legal fees and other expenses.
But, these types of online frauds almost never result in a happy ending and you will lose any money that you sent in advance.
Health Scams and Frauds
The health scams list is a long one. Health scams and frauds are usually set up by email or via an advert.
The scammer often claims to have a ‘miracle cure‘ for cancer, baldness, acne, impotence, or sustained weight loss.
The best advice is not to open the email or reply to the advert.
Other health scams may appear to be a legitimate alternative medicine. But in reality they fail to work as promised. Buying cheap drugs and medicines or without an authentic prescription can be dangerous.
First of all the products may not get delivered. Second, some fake medicines are a danger to public health matters in the United Kingdom.
Business Opportunity Frauds: Job Scams UK
There are several common job scams which get facilitated through cyber fraud.
A familiar job scam in the UK is the promise of a new career. The job scam cheat asks you to pay up front for training or materials.
Another example involves the offer non-existent jobs abroad. These Internet fraud types ask you to pay a fee to organise your accommodation and visa.
Be careful you don’t get caught out by a work at home scheme. The attraction usually involves information suggesting you can make easy money at home.
Paying an upfront fee to register is often the major catch to these online scams. Watch out for tricksters asking you to buy selected products for resale.
They may even charge you to recruit other people to join in the scheme. But, these ‘sales leads’ or products usually turn out to be worthless. Beware that your personal registration details may get sold on to other Internet scammers.
So what should you look out for to avoid these types of business opportunity scams?
- Business opportunities that seem too good to be true… usually are!
- Adverts suggesting you can sit back and let the business runs itself.
- Treat business contact details that include mobile phone numbers starting with 07 as a red flag warning.
- Contact email addresses ending in web mail addresses (e.g. @gmail, @yahoo and @hotmail).
- Dodgy business people are often difficult to contact (get them to prove who they are).
Money Mules UK
The definition of a money mule is someone who transfers stolen money between different countries. Fraudsters will often use false job adverts to entice a money mule. For example it could be one which promises huge amounts of money for little work.
This is how the scammers lure potential mule recruits. They usually ask you to make an illegal transfer of money between bank accounts.
Taking delivery of, and forwarding, stolen money is breaking the law by money laundering. You should never allow criminals to use your bank account for illegal money transactions. This rule applies even if you get paid a commission for helping the cheaters.
Online Auction Frauds
Recent years have seen a huge increase of online auction sites such as eBay, eBid, Bonanza, and Gumtree. Fraudsters pose as fake buyers for the online scams. The criminals appear to pay for the goods and then ask you to send them out. The usual problem is that the payment fails and bounces.
Also beware of fake sellers who take your payment but fail to send the goods to you. Some swindlers send items that are less valuable or different from the original description.
Online Fraudulent Advertising
Fraudulent online advertising often advertises a genuine article. But, in truth they have copied the advert or impersonated the fraudster. It is therefore extremely difficult to tell the real deal. Buying a concert ticket online is a common place for these fraudulent adverts to show up.
The best way of avoiding broker scams is by conducting a background check on their website. As a rule you can establish their authenticity by checking their history and feedback reviews. Always try to get as much information as possible before paying for any item via the Internet.
Online Dating Frauds
Some unscrupulous fraudsters try to connect with people through a dating website. It would be nice to think you have met your ideal partner online. But, often the information they provide is false and misleading. In some cases even their profile photographs are fake.
Beware if they are up-front about living overseas. They will try to befriend you over time. The trickster wants to gain your trust by becoming affectionate and romantic. But, be wise and prepare yourself for their fraudulent plot.
Sooner or later they will ask you for money. They will concoct a variety of different reasons for you to part with cash by playing on your emotions. Realise that if you pay any money you will almost certainly never hear from them again.
Hackers use pharming scams to defraud people. They redirect web traffic from a genuine website to another. The traffic usually ends up on a fake e-commerce or an online banking site.
You will have entered the right address to bring you to a particular website. But, you are sent to a fake one where scammers try to get your personal information. That is why pharming scams are difficult to protect yourself from.
So how can you protect yourself from a pharming scam? You should:
- Use a trustworthy Internet service provider (ISP).
- Check the URL (website address) when it loads. Make sure it has not changed to a different spelling. Often the false site has a few extra letters or the letters get swapped around in some way.
- Take extra care when you type in usernames and banking passwords. At that point the http in the website address should change to https. HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.
- It is important for all computer users to keep their antivirus software up to date.
Phishing attacks occur when someone tries to trick you into revealing your personal information. Often they are ‘phishing‘ to get your bank account details. Sending you a fake email pretending to be from your bank or a trusted organisation is a common trick.
Common phishing scams appear to be from sites you trust such as PayPal or HM Revenue and Customs.
Note: Find out how HM Revenue and Customs keeps your private information safe online.
The scammer’s email might ask you to visit a website and use your account details to log in. The site appears the same as your bank website. In fact it is a fake website set up by criminals to fraudulently get your private details.
Email is the most common method used in phishing scams. But you may also get targeted by a text message or even by telephone. Ask to call them back if you get suspicious and check if the number matches the real phone number of your bank.
Note: Be sure you get a dial tone before you make the verification phone call. That way you are sure the scammer hung up and did not stay on the line.
5 Tips to Avoid Being Scammed Online
We hope you are already familiar with the most common types of online scams. But, you should accept that a new scam is set in creation on a regular basis. So how can you stay safe in a world of multimedia and protect yourself against getting scammed online?
- Greed can be dangerous! Strangers who contact you offering large sums of money are rarely genuine. Think twice before you get involved.
- Be a skeptic! Ask lots of pertinent questions if an email request for money strikes you as being odd.
- Get educated! Learning the basics of computer safety and online security is being prudent not paranoid.
- Spot the difference! Find out how to tell a secure website from an unsecure one.
- Learn about VeriSign! Like most things in life, the more you know, the safer you will be from getting scammed online.
Note: You can report a crime to Action Fraud Cyber Crime Reporting Centre if you were a victim of online scams.