The Internet has been public since 1995. There are currently more than 2.2 billion internet users globally. It’s amazing how far this technological wonder has come since its introduction. Unfortunately many scams have been surfacing online since then as well.
The Junk Mail team is continuing the trend to inform you about scams that are out there. This post contains a list of 10 of the worst scams on the internet.
1. Lottery Scams: Most of you reading have probably received e-mails from people stating that you’ve won the lottery in some foreign country (usually with a total of a few million dollars). If you have, you are probably aware of lottery scams. These scams target people with the promise of millions of dollars, pounds or Euros, which will be deposited into their bank accounts after completing a few easy steps. The catch is that you must pay thousands of dollars / pounds / Euros ahead of time before you receive your promised lottery jackpot. Once you hand over your thousands, your lottery money is just gone and you’re out of money. We know it seems silly, but what’s a few thousand dollars / pounds / Euros compared to a couple of million? The best course of action for this scam is basically to ignore the e-mail that you have received and delete it.
2. Disaster Relief Scams: This scam (which prays compassion of people) has been on the rise recently. In a country’s time of need, money is usually the best donation to provide and scammers have become well aware of this. They’ll send out emails with a link to a fake donation website which asks you to make a donation (usually by using your debit or credit card). By providing this information (such as your card number) the scammers have access to your information (which could then provide them access to your money). In the end you’ll be out of your hard earned money, and some scammer has your information even though you never really donated to the real cause. If you do want to make a donation to a cause, make sure you do it through the proper official channels on the correct web address. If your request for a donation came through email, it’s probably a phishing scam. Do research online and check if the cause actually exists before you donate money. Plain and simple.
3. Online Dating Scams: Over the last couple of years online dating websites have become extremely popular globally. Participants set up dating profiles on one of the online dating websites that promises to give you access to hundreds of potential partners. Be warned because in turn it also gives online scammers access to you. Let’s say that a fellow member messages you and over time the connection grows and becomes pretty strong, and they lead you to believe that they are pretty well off. Next, your new found boyfriend or girlfriend tells you that he/she is out of the country doing business and needs your assistance with a few things. An online dating scam starts when that person wants you to cash a money order and wire the money. Those who fall for the scam are hurt both emotionally and financially. Check the validity of your online partner’s account on the dating service and if something sounds too good to be true, terminate the relationship (however hard it may be).
4. Rogue Software: Have you ever been to a legitimate website and had a sudden pop-up window that says something along the line that your computer is infected with viruses and worms and needs to be cleaned ASAP? Well then you are aware of a scam that is getting quite popular online. Many people will fall for the pop-up and end up downloading rogue software. The software might look like it is a legitimate anti-virus program that promises to clean your computer of all viruses. Though many times this rogue software is free, there are times when the program does cost money, and people do fall for it. People generally aren’t out of money when it comes to this scam, but their computers are infected with even more viruses, trojans, worms and other bugs that can not only ruin the computer, but can have their private information exposed to the scammers. Don’t install anything on your computer that you haven’t investigated properly and have done significant research about.
5. Travel and Vacation Scams: It’s safe to say that in the world of today, many people are cutting out their yearly holiday expenditures in order to make ends meet at home. People are giving up their travels, but it doesn’t mean that they want to, and it surely doesn’t mean that they would not take a holiday deal if someone offered it to them. This is the reason why scammers who are running travel and vacation scams are cashing in daily. Unknowingly consumers will seek out a vacation deal, usually one that is seriously too good to be true. Things like “a trip to Disneyland, all expenses paid, you just give us a few hundred dollars”. Who would believe that? Sadly, there are folks who do. People have smartened up though resulting in dwindling popularity of this scam. If the holiday deal that you have received sounds too good to be true, it most probably is.
6. Fake Auction / Sale Scams: The popularity of eBay, Craigslist and other auction websites are growing each day, so it’s no surprise that fake auctions and fake sales are starting to become an issue online. These websites are used by thousands of people on a daily basis to obtain items at a discounted price. Where you find people with money, you will also usually find scammers trying to take it off their hands. At first glance a fake sale or auction looks like an opportunity to save money, but in the end many people are left empty-handed and scammed out their hard-earned cash. These fake auction and sales scams usually happen pretty frequently and in the blink of an eye. A scammer creates an ad or auction on a website, stating that he has a certain item for sale, usually something that is pretty expensive to begin with, for a very low price. Something that basically sounds too good to be true. The scammer knows that people will jump all over this “deal,” without even stopping to think that it could be fake and just a luring act for money. Plenty of people fall for it, making this particular scam a huge success.
7. Free Trial Scams: You’ve all seen ads and pop-ups on certain websites that promise a free trial for some sort of product: weight-loss pills, a colon cleanse or dieting pills. You all know how expensive some of these products can be, so many of you might fall for the free trial scam. While many people get the free product they were promised, the scam starts when you have to provide your banking details to pay for shipping and handling fees. If you give out this information, the company can then charge you each month for not cancelling the free trial. Usually the cancellation notice is written in very fine/small print so most people won’t pay attention to it. However, after not cancelling your free trial within 15 or 30 days, your debit or credit card is billed monthly. In some casees, the company who has your banking information will sell it to an affiliate company who can then use it as they please. Don’t accept anything for free unless you’ve read the full terms and conditions associated with it.
8. Work From Home Scams: This scam is quite common online. These Fraudulent Work From Home opportunities promise you the world. Not only do these Work From Home scams mean you’re out of money, but it could mean that your computer is left nothing short of ruined. These scams usually have a situation where you are given the opportunity to work at home, making your computer a so-called “money-making machine” by doing very simple things. In most cases you aren’t told what these things are and how to locate them on the Internet without making a payment of some kind. The catch is that you’re paying for information that you often don’t receive or that it often has nothing to do with working from home. In some cases you are guaranteed that within 24 hours you’ll have full access to information and programs that allow your computer to make money for you (without much effort on your part). But this is just another scam. If you’ve provided your banking information you might lose money and you have most likely installed rogue software that will ruin your computer. If a work from home opportunity sounds too good to be true, do an online search about them and ask your friends whether or not they think it’s legitimate before you generously donate your money to some scammer.
9. PayPal Scams: In most cases of this scam, you’re scammed when a scammer responds to an online ad that you have placed on a classifieds website (like Junk Mail). A scammer will usually respond to the ad, stating that they are interested in the product that is being sold and that the product will be sent to a friend or family member in a foreign country. In some cases these scammers are people from a foreign country who promise to pay more money than you are asking for the item. After shipping the item and after the seller pays you, you’ll realize that soon enough, PayPal has taken the money from your account, and that you’re out of the item you were trying to sell. In some cases the “buyer” will contact PayPal saying that they never received the item, or in even worse cases, the scammer will be using a fake PayPal address or a stolen account. Bottom line, sell your item on your terms, not the buyers terms.
10. 419 Scams: Most people reading this post have an email account that they use every day for various purposes. Of course there are the occasional spam emails that many of us just put into the junk folder, but on some days you get an email that is really shocking. If you’ve ever received an email, usually from a Nigerian member of a family that comes from a lot of wealth stating that they are attempting to get a very large amount of money out of the country, then you were targeted by a 419 scam. Usually these emails call out for your help in order to get this money moved into the country you reside in. Of course, these emails are nothing less than a scam. It is said that over $32 billion has been lost over the years to 419 Scams. The scam is still very popular today. It is also said that there are about 300,000 of these scammers in the world today, but the number is steadily increasing. The mere notion of moving money in and out of a country via unofficial channels sounds dodgy if you ask. The best thing you can do is to delete the e-mail when you receive it.
The Junk Mail team hope that you’ve found this information enlightening and educating. If you have another scam that you’ve encountered that has made strides onto the Global Worst Scam chart, please comment on this post.
If you have been a victim of a scam or if you want to inform the Junk Mail team about a scam that you’ve encountered via the Junk Mail website, please report it to our Customer Care Department via firstname.lastname@example.org or telephonically on 012-3423840 x2295 (during office hours) and make us aware of it.
You can also check out the Safety & Security page on the Junk Mail blog and these posts for more information about scams: