In terms of avoiding online scams, another big trick is knowing what the different kinds of online scams actually look like. There are plenty of credit card, social security, security software, gift cards, fraudulent emails, romance scams, and many other types of online fraud out there. Let's take a closer look at what sets apart scams from legitimate businesses and what this type of online fraud might look like.
One of the most common types of scams out there is the shopping scam. These are difficult to detect because they are often very random in nature. Here, you will see bogus retailers claiming that they are selling a specific product. However, once they get your money, they have no intention of actually providing you with said product.
Keep in mind that this type of scam will often come to you either on social media or through email. If you get an email saying that you can buy some sort of luxury product for an unbelievably low price, you can rest assured that it is most likely a scam. Moreover, this is a dangerous type of scam because if you provide your credit card information, your card may be used for future "purchases".
Another common type of scam, perhaps the most common of all, is the phishing scam, and the reason it is so popular is because it works far too often. Phishing scams have one purpose, and that is to gain access to your financial information. An example of this is if a friend emails you asking for your credit card information, in which case it is clear that their email account has been hacked.
Some of these emails are designed to look like they originate from a trusted business or government entity. For instance, you could get an email asking for your social security number. People, no legit agency is every going to ask for your social security number via email.
The Nigerian Scam
One of the oldest scams out there that still gets way more people than it should is the Nigerian scam. Here, you will get an email from someone claiming to be Nigerian royalty, such as a prince.
They might tell you something along the lines of they need you to send them $1,000 so they can unlock their bank accounts, and when they do, they will send you $100,000 for your troubles. Rest assured, these people are not Nigerian royalty, and they will certainly never send you any money.
Another form of online scam is known as digital kidnapping. Here, scammers or hackers will take control of your social media accounts, and other accounts, and then force you to pay them money to hand control back over to you.
There are also many cases where these scammers will threaten to post or share harmful contact, such as pictures that you don't want others seeing. Essentially, this is nothing more than blackmail and extortion.
The next most common type of online scam out there is the dating scam. Here, scammers will create online dating profiles to lure in unsuspecting victims. They will seem like real people and they will work very hard to create a relationship with you, to establish trust.
Then, once trust has been established, they will ask you for money. If you notice that somebody likes you a whole lot in spite of never having met you, which is then followed by them asking for money, you can rest assured that it is a scam.
Another common type of scam out there is the charity scam. This one is very simple. An organization that claims to be a charity contacts you, generally through email, asking for a donation. If you haven't heard of the charity, particularly after doing some research, then it is a scam.
Lottery or Sweepstakes Scams
The other type of scam you should be aware of is the fake lottery scam. Here, you will be contacted by someone who claims that you won money or some sort of prize.
However, to access your prize, you will need to provide some personal or financial information. People, if you never entered the lottery or sweepstakes, then how could you possibly have won something?