What Is An Online Scam

If we want to learn how to avoid online scams we first need to know what is an online scam.

The one thing that really ticks me off about scammers is that most scams are complicated, not everyone can put together a good scam.  It takes drive, motivation and intelligent.  Why not take that talent and put it to good use and earn a legitimate income online?

online scam
online scam

So in order to avoid online scams we need to know that the perpetrators of online scams are after one thing.  That is anything that can make them money.

One of the earliest scams that most people are familiar with is the Nigerian 419 scam.  The scammer would contact you via email, letter or even text messaging and offer you a considerable amount of money for your help in transferring their funds out of the country.

Scenario One – They are going to need your bank account information in order to transfer the money to your account.  What happens next is they will drain your account.

Scenario Two – They will ask you for money to cover certain fees needed to get the money out.  It may start out as a small amount but more fees will arise and the amount will increase.  They will continue to do this until you stop sending them money.  By this time you should have realize that you’ve been scammed.

How To Spot An Online Scam

How could this have been prevented?  Were there any warning signs that this was an actual scam?

There actual were some things that should have made you wary of this scam.

Why would a person in a foreign country that you do not know contact you in the first place?  Also the financial reward for your “help” is usually quite large.

There are other red flags but these two I think scream “SCAM!”.

Important thing to remember “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is”.

Another scam that is becoming prevalent especially around holiday season is counterfeit credit card.  This actually happened to my husband just before Christmas.  His credit card information somehow got into the hands of the scammers and they made an online purchase for around $3000.00

credit card scam
credit card scam

We live in the country so our mail is delivered to us.  On this particular day the scammer came to our door and told us that a package of his had accidentally been delivered to us.  We had not received our mail yet so we told him so.

He then proceeded to find the mail truck and he flagged our mail lady down and asked her for the parcel.  He produced a Driver’s License with his picture on it but it had my husband’s name and address on it.

Since the mail lady knows us she told him you’re not Mr. Smith(fictitious name).  She told him she would deliver the parcel to my husband and he could meet her at our house and talk it over with my husband.

Needless to say he never showed.  He had purchased a $3000.00 item from Best Buy and charged our card.  We called the police to report the crime.  What we found out was quite interesting.

They were doing this mostly in rural areas.  They would try and intercept the package at the post office before it when out with the mail person to be delivered.  For packages that had been delivered they would go to their house and actually convince some people that the package was actually theirs.

This just boggled my mind.  If a parcel addressed to you came to your house and then some stranger shows up with the same name and claims it is his parcel would you believe him?  My spidey senses would be firing up on all contact points!

We still don’t know how he got our credit card information.  It is a card that we had not used in a very long time but just prior to that had tried to use it but my husband did not know his pin.  We kind of suspected the person at the store may have been in on it but who knows.

All I know was we were lucky.  We had to cancel all our credit cards and order new ones, so that wasn’t too bad.

Another type of online scams is phishing.  This starts with the scammer sending you an email from your bank.  The email will look quite legitimate.  Your bank will now give you some reason that they need your bank account information.  A lot of times they will tell you that your account has been compromised by scammers.  Everything looks so real right down to your bank’s logo.  It’s no wonder many people fall victim to this scam.

bank scam
bank scam

After you send them your information you can say goodbye to your savings.

What you need to remember is if your bank has been hacked or if there is any kind of a problem they will never ever email you asking for your account information.  If you get one of these emails before sending any information to them pick up the phone and call your bank.  Not only will you save yourself your life savings but also a lot of aggravation.

Here is another online scam that is really scary.  The scammer will list an apartment for rent.  Of course the rent is super low and the apartment is located in a really good area.  When potential renters contact the scammer he informs them he is out of state and will mail them the keys.  When the renter agrees to this the scammer has second thoughts.  The scammer is unsure of the renters ability to pay so he asks him to send the first month’s rent and a deposit to a friend of his in the area. Now when you think about it this does not seem like an unreasonable request since often when renting you are asked for first and last month’s rent upfront.

So how is this a scam?  The apartment that the scammer lists for rent is not his.  So not only does he scam a potential renter out of money he also puts the person who lives in the apartment at risk.  The owner of the apartment although having nothing to do with this scam may be blamed and sued or even worse they could be physically harmed.

So again if you come across a great deal that sounds too good to be true it probably is.  If you can’t view the apartment before giving a deposit then walk away.

Another online scam that is gaining momentum is online dating scam.  Here a lot of times the target is elderly single women.  This scam usually starts at an online dating site or social media.

The scammer will do his homework when picking his victim.  He will start out as a friend and will in conversation illicit a lot of information that he will use to play on her emotions.  And play he does.

dating scam
dating scam

Often the scammer says he is American but he is working overseas.  As their relationship grows he talks about joining her in the states.  Soon as he is about to join her in the states he will need money for some type of “emergency”.

These emergency will continue and the women who are lonely and truly believe him will keep sending them money since soon they will be together.

The really sad thing about this scam is often the women are left dead broke and they just cannot seem to understand that the guy is not real.  They honestly believe he will show up some day.

Dr. Phil actually had a woman on his show that had been a victim of one of these scams.  Her late husband had left her in great financial shape.  Nice house all paid for.  Almost a million dollars in the bank etc.  Her daughters tried to convince her that it was a scam but she would not listen.  Dr. Phil proved it was a scam but she still believes “the guy” loves her and is going to show up some day.

Today she has no money and no house.  These scammers really know how to work on your vulnerabilities and your emotions.

They hide behind the internet so trying to recover your losses is near impossible.

It is just a shame that a wonderful tool like the internet is used in such a horrendous way.  Preying on innocent people to maintain your lifestyle is not the way the internet should be used.

So have you been scammed or know someone who has?  Share your story, it could help prevent someone else from being scammed.

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Comments

  1. Reply

    Hey Maureen you’ve quite some articles already and I read about 4-5 of them already.

    Thanks for taking your time and educating novices and/or in general, people that new to whole this internet “stuff” how scam works so they know how to avoid them. These days internet is flooded with fraudulent “make money online programs” so, in some sense you are doing humanitarian job in here for letting people know how to avoid these scammers and save them possibly a lot of money. I’ve learned recently that many elder people(mostly seniors) get scammed into all sorts of life insurance and tax return scams.

    It’s awesome to see there are some kind people that want to help others not go fall through a lot of pitfalls that they’ve probably fallen themselves in their “make money online” journey just like you, me and a lot of other people.

    You’re explanations are pre-point accurate as to what an online scam and thanks for once again taking your time and putting this piece together.

    Aram

    1. Reply

      Thanks for your comments Aram. Since writing this article I got 6 phone calls from someone claiming to be from Revenue Canada. I was instructed to call them back at their hotline. If I did not call or have a lawyer call for me a warrant would be issued for my arrest. Needless to say I am still walking the streets a free lady! Here is a website that will tell you whether or not the telephone number that is calling you is a scam. https://800notes.com/

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