Top 10 most common Online, Internet and Email scams & frauds

Cybercrime is everywhere, and the least you can do is read up about it. You might think Internet and email scams only affect those who are not tech savvy or do not keep up with the daily news, but that is not true. From IT professionals to teachers, to journalists, people from all fragments of society and professional fronts have fallen for these immaculately planned online frauds, Business Compromise Scams, Pharming, etc, which might confuse anybody. And the notion of risk-taking obviously does not work in this context. With the advent of social network and the wide usage of emailing, these scams acquired quite a foothold.

Common Online, Internet & Email scams

Top 10 Internet and Email Scams

Here are the 10 Internet and email scams you should look out for:

Nigerian Scam

Possibly the most talked about scams, these operate mostly through the mail and messaging services. People usually receive mails from a fake Nigerian individual, who claims to be from a very wealthy family and is looking for somebody to donate her money. Usually, these scams are fronts for black money or identity theft. The user is promised a huge amount of money if he or she would share his details, and a surprising number of people fall for it. They will also ask the unwitting user to sign a number of legal forms, which are actually pretty effective in taking money out of your account.

International Lottery scam

The lottery scam is perhaps the oldest and most obvious scams in the history of Internet fraud, and yet people are duped by it. Basically, a mail reaches your server from an unknown lottery company, and it looks official and almost real. But there are obviously some red flags which expert can point out. Usually, when this happens, the mail will not address you by your name or your personal details. They promise to transfer millions of dollars into your personal account, if you give them your bank details, and then, of course, they drain the money out of your account. Millions of people around the world have lost a massive amount of their earnings through this scam. Sometimes, the emails take the name of a famous lottery company, which might be a global name, and with high-end techniques, conmen have better means of faking their credentials, so you should always be on the lookout.

Read: Microsoft scams and Online Tech Support Scams.

Travel scams

This kind of fraud is pretty relevant even today, as people who are on these websites or get the fraudulent emails are not at all expecting to get swindled. People see huge discounts or really low rates on some travel packages and fall for it. They will also ask for your private details, and you will need to pay some money. Usually, these are quick scams and won’t drain your account, but you will never see the money you spent or get any tickets. Whenever you receive such a mail or spot something suspicious on a website, it is best to double-check.

Credit Card Scams

These frauds are also hugely common.Usually, you will get a mail from your an operator who claims to be your bank. They will tell you your credit/debit card has been canceled, or you are facing some breach in your account and thus, need to act fast. Most people, in a state of panic, give out their credit card details, One Time passwords, and even their pin numbers. It is very important to remember that your bank would never ask you for this kind of sensitive information over mail or phone, and be careful.

Read: Avoid Online Shopping Fraud & Holiday Season Scams.

Job Scams

These kinds of frauds prey upon those who are vulnerable. Most people are looking for jobs update their personal details, like mail ids and names on employment search portals. Anybody can access those details and contact the user. You will get a mail, asking for your resume, educational details, and other credentials. They will promise you an interview and possibly ask for a token amount of money, which would be reverted back to you upon hiring or at a later time. These scams are usually fronts for identity thefts and money swindling.

Digital payment scams

These are the easiest and the most dangerous frauds there is, and everybody should take note since people are so tech-reliant right now. Millions of people use digital wallets or online payment portals like PayPal or Venmo. Users often get an alert on their mail about how their account has been hacked, or an amount of money has been taken out of their account. Usually, people panic, and it never occurs to them that they are being duped by a third party.

Online ad scams

These are similar to the employment scam routine, just a little more creative. When you post an item for sale on a portal or post an ad to buy a specific item, in websites like eBay or Craigslist, or any other platform, fraudulent people can access those details and get back to you. They’ll tell you they have what you are looking for, and might even share pictures with you, but these offers usually come with a payment-first policy, and after you pay them,  you don’t hear back from them.

Investment scams

These frauds are like a short-term Ponzi scheme. You might get alerts or emails offering you ‘double your money on a month’ plans or any other such scams. Some fake portals even have provisions for your verification, where they ask you for a token amount of money, and hence dupe you.

Read: Beware of Online Tax Scams & Frauds.

Disaster relief or rescue scams

Whenever you get a mail asking you to donate money to a charity or a rescue operation, never respond to them. Most people obviously fall for these as they want to support a cause, but as there is no way to verify these scams, and people usually donate a substantial amount of money to disaster relief, this is a very dangerous fraud.

Ask for help scams

These frauds are more personal in nature, and you might get a mail with very specific details about a certain person, stuck in a situation in a random country, from where he/she cannot get back home and will ask for your money. People often get blindsided by the personal nature of these emails, but it is very important to remember that these are usually chain emails, and ask people to send over financial help.

Online scams are a huge risk as you can encounter them anywhere, and the smartest of people get affected by it, as they never see it coming. Whenever you encounter anything on a new portal or website, it is always best to verify their credentials before you send in your money or personal details.

Be aware, Stay safe!

Read next: Where to report Online Scams, Spam and Phishing websites.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.