Top 5 Internet Scams to Watch Out For

Internet scams are among the 7 most common scams that cheat people out of their money. When this happens, you don’t only lose out on the money that the scam costs you; you also lose some sense of security about your online activities. Protect yourself to avoid becoming a victim.

There are dozens of different types of Internet scams that you have to watch out for. These are the five biggest ones to avoid:

1. Advance Fee Scams. In this scam, you are asked to pay a fee in advance before you can obtain a product or service. This may happen if you try to order a service online from an illegitimate site. It may also happen in the format of first receiving an email saying that you have won money but requesting that you send a fee for the taxes in advance of receiving the money.

2. Checks for Overpayment. This scam is the opposite of the advance fee scam. In this case, you have posted something online for rent or sale. The person wants to send you a check for an amount that is more than the amount that you requested. They want you to send the difference back to them. You can tell that this is sketchy but what exactly is going on? The person is scamming you out of the money that you send to them because their check is going to bounce and you’re not going to get anything from them. You may also end up having to pay bounced check fees.

3. Emails from the federal government or your bank. One of the biggest online phishing scams involves requesting your personal information by posing as the IRS or a legitimate bank. If you receive an email from these types of places asking for personal information, assume that someone is trying to steal your identity. The IRS wouldn’t send out unsolicited emails trying to contact you. Always call the government organization or your bank. Don’t use a number that is supplied in the email. Look it up in your own personal records instead.

4. Money requests from your online friends. What would you do if you were to receive an email or social networking message from a friend saying that they were in an emergency and needed some cash? Many people don’t think twice before sending them the money online. Watch out, though. It’s increasingly common for Internet scammers to use these methods to convince you to send money to them. You won’t know about it until you ask your friend later about how that emergency played out and you get a dumbfounded look in response.

5. Unbelievably low rents. You definitely want to use common sense when using the Internet to find a place to rent. One Internet scam involves people who copy real ads of rental properties but advertise them at insanely low rent prices. These people may ask for your financial information to see if you qualify to rent the place. They may even ask for an upfront deposit to hold the property for you. Then they steal your money and you don’t get a place to rent because the legitimate owner wasn’t the one renting it to you.

As you can see, these are all Internet scams that can be avoided if you use common sense and safety precautions in your online interactions. Don’t ever send out personal information online. Ignore emails requesting any type of money from you until you’ve verified the request with a legitimate agency or individual. And finally, trust your gut instinct. If an online deal sounds too good to be true then it almost always is.

What other internet scams are you aware of? How do you protect yourself from becoming a victim of internet fraud?

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Comments

  1. says

    With the ever increasing popularity of online shopping, there has been umpteen instances of internet scams. Identity fraud is one of the common evils that customers fall prey to. In recent times there have a steep increase in the number of such frauds. It is very important to check a https element for security purpose in the url of the website that you are using. The most important of all is to keep your personal identification data safe.

  2. says

    Another that I have seen time and time again is the “free trial” offer where you sign up for the free trial, and you are supposed to be able to send the product back for a full refund yet when you try and contact the company, the number is disconnected. They now have your payment details, usually required for the trial, and can bill you to their hearts content.

    My brother fell in this trap and has been billed 90$ for a bogus product multiple times.

  3. Kathryn says

    @Jesse

    I hadn’t thought of that one but I do know what you’re talking about. Terrible scam. I’m always wary when something is offered for free even though there are a lot of legitimate deals out there. Been burned one too many times!

  4. Kathryn says

    Thanks @Belmont – great additional tips!

  5. says

    Shopping online freaks me out. I’ve heard so many stories of people who have ordered something online, only to see a couple hundred dollars in charges for something they never ordered show up on their credit card bill. It’s for this reason that I use credit cards for my online shopping.. I can’t imagine having my debit card number stolen and trying to get my money back after the fact..

  6. says

    I was scammed when I bought proflowers online. I went through their website, and they offered to send me information on how to save on my next purchase from them. What they forgot to tell me was that they were enrolling me in a coupon program for $14.95 – per month!

    Luckily I noticed the fraudulent charges on my credit card bill and had them reversed. Needless to say, I have not ordered proflowers again. It’s a shame too because the flowers themselves were excellent quality and quickly delivered. :-/

  7. says

    Luckily, I had only my PayPal account scammed once, not sure how, and PP returned all the money. Once somebody tried rental scam, but that was kind of obvious (asking Western Union transfer number…).
    You can have lot of fun with Nigerian scams, they are pretty silly and there is whole subculture aimed at scam busting, when people pretend interest and pull scammers’ legs. But I wouldn’t recommend that, let it for teenagers and students…

  8. Deb says

    Please wait for a site operator to respond.

    You are now chatting with ‘CSR009′

    CSR009: Hello, How may I help you today?

    dartbrat63@hotmail.com: i ordered your product online was told it was a one day offer free just had to pay shipping and handling i ended up getting charged 5.35 then a week later 86.97 i was very disappointed because i would never pay 80 bucks for a bottle of pills

    CSR009: If you do not cancel your order within the 14 Day Trial Period and return the Product to us within 30 days after you cancel your order, your credit card on file will be charged $79.98.

    dartbrat63@hotmail.com: yes i ordered the product they charged me 5.35 on my credit card then on june 7 charged me 86.97 i talked to them on the phone and said i would return it but they said i cant i didnt get the product till june 9

    dartbrat63@hotmail.com: i will gladly return it they also would nt give there canadian address

    CSR009: your account was past trial period already when you cancelled your account

    dartbrat63@hotmail.com: its not my fault i didnt get the product for 2 weeks i thought i was only paying shipping and handling but all they could do is cancel any future orders

    CSR009: I’m sorry but since you are past the trial period the fees are nonrefundable. I have already cancelled your account so you will not be billed anything further, there is nothing I can do regarding the fees that have already been billed.

    CSR009: Is there anything else that I can assist you with?

    dartbrat63@hotmail.com: fine i will make sure i post it on the internet that you people are scammers and tell people not to order from you cause nobody in there right mind would pay 80 bucks for pills or reorder in two weeks who takes 60 pills in two weeks thanks for nothing

    CSR009: Thanks for visiting. If you ever need anything else please feel free to come back to this site for live chat support. Thanks again and have a great day!

    dartbrat63@hotmail.com: i will be copying and pasting are whole conversation

  9. Mr A Hussain says

    I have been contacted by bogus callers claiming that they were from my bank and they were investigating an issue with respect to my account mistakenly been overcharged by them. They could not give me full account number because of data protection act and I had to give them my account number, security code and date of birth. They spoke in Indian language and appeared very proffessional, I immediately regonised it was a scam to tap into my account but my wife nearly fell for this scam because they were very freindly and spoke in her mother’s tongue until I stopped her. I have reported this incident to my bank. They were clever in revealing the first few numbers of my card number

  10. Mr A Hussain says

    I have been contacted by bogus callers claiming that they were from my bank and they were investigating an issue with respect to my account mistakenly been overcharged by them. They could not give me full account number because of data protection act and I had to give them my account number, security code and date of birth. They spoke in Indian language and appeared very proffessional, I immediately regonised it was a scam to tap into my account but my wife nearly fell for this scam because they were very freindly and spoke in her mother’s tongue until I stopped her. I have reported this incident to my bank. They were clever in revealing the first few numbers of my card number

  11. says

    These above mentioned internet scams in the above article are really interesting facts that a user should be aware of. Good article as it has a good motive to alert people who are involved in other type of online scams. Very informative. Thanks.

  12. says

    Another scam that I don’t think has been mentioned is the unlockable offer. Often times companies offer a so-called “free service” but require you to fill out one or two surveys before making their content available. In such cases, the websites pull your entered information and sell it to other, non-related third parties.

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