Top 10 Internet and email scams of 2009

10. “Make Money Fast” chain emails
You receive a mail with a list of people on it, asking you to send some money to the person on top of the list. You are asked to add your name to the bottom of the list and pass the mail on to other people. They say that the more the Scamnumber of people on the list, the more your chances of becoming a millionaire. Please make note that the list is manipulated to keep the person on top of the list, on top. Also, if you pass this email on, you risk being charged with fraud.

9. “Turn Your Computer Into a Money-Making Machine!”
This is how it works : you pay someone to have them instruct you on how to download and install softwares on your computer that will turn you computer into a money minting machine. While signing up, you are required to enter your paypal account information for the money that is supposed to start pouring once you start the whole thing. The program, that is supposed to run round the clock on your computer, not only bogs it down with considerable performance issues, but the money goes to the scammers.

8. Travel scams
These scams usually are rampant during the travel season. You get an email offering you exceptionally low fares to an exotic destination. They might even mention that the offer expires after today which might hurry you into making decisions you will regret later. The catch is that though the fare prices may be low, the package might come bundled with compulsory stay at a hotel whose tariff more than compensates for the lucrative offer.

7. Disaster relief scams
This scam obviously uses your sentiments against you. They use world famous disasters as an excuse for a plea for donation. Don’t be fooled into clicking on the link to the donations page. It might be a phishing act, trying to conn you into entering your crucial bank details and robbing you of all your money.

6. Items for sale overpayment scam
If you have posted an ad for sale of an item online and receive an email from a potential buyer offering you more than the price you listed, you should know what you’re dealing with. The scammer will probably say that he is willing to pay more because of of the supposed expense of international shipping. He will ask you to send the item in question and the money difference. Only when you go to submit the money order will you realize that the whole thing was a scam.

5. Employment search overpayment scam
If you have applied for a job on an employment site and receive an email from a potential employer offering you a job of a “financial representative”, beware! The job profile they will cite is that you handle money transactions with their US customers, wherein they will ask for your bank information that will be used in the transaction. Chances are you will be left with nothing in your account or a likely case of identity theft.

4. Phishing emails and phony web pages
Phishing means to have the user enter their details into a real-looking website which is actually an engineered copy by the scammers. You will probably get an email luring you to the link which appears to be the webpage of your bank but is not actually so. Your bank details will be saved by the scammer with no knowledge on your side. Make sure you look at the address in the address bar to make sure you are visiting the real webpage.

3. Lottery scams
This scam will come to you in the form of an email congratulating you for winning a million dollars through a lottery. How your name got in there will probably be explained with them having got your contact details from a social networking site, etc. But wait! They want you to pay a processing fee of a few thousand dollars before they can release the prize money. The truth is you will never see the prize money or the ‘processing’ fee you paid.

2. Advanced fees paid for a guaranteed loan or credit card
Emails from banks offering loans without any credibility check or credit cards that do not incur that annual fee, might sound too good to be true. The truth is, it actually is. Make sure you avail such offers in person and don’t be fooled into paying the ‘registration fee’ online.

1. The Nigerian scam, also known as 419
A lot of you must have received this mail from a Nigerian wealthy family desperately asking you to help them transfer their money out of the country. All you are required to do is pay for some legal issues involved in the transfer of money, a big share of which is promised to you. Some say this scam, in some form or the other, is as old as 1920’s.

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