“I Have a Proposal For You” and Other Internet Scams

Internet scams and online security

It’s getting increasingly difficult to use the Internet without encountering scam solicitations. They often come in the form of email messages, banner ads, classified listings or computer viruses. While some swindlers remain amusingly obvious, others use sophisticated techniques to deceive victims. You can avoid fraud by learning about the most common types of internet scams.

Inheritance

Many email-based swindles appear to offer a huge sum of money. They might describe the cash as an inheritance or lottery winnings. Some messages begin with the phrase “I have a proposal for you.” They frequently contain different “from” and “reply-to” addresses, according to 419Scam.org. If you reply, the scammers will ask for cash to cover bank fees or other expenses. They have no plans to send you money.

Homework

Although it’s possible to find real work-at-home jobs, employment seekers must use extreme caution. Many deceptive opportunities involve assembling products, processing rebates or stuffing envelopes, according to OnGuardOnline.gov. The scam operators typically provide little or no pay and expect workers to spend money on supplies.

Phishing

email phishingWhen scammers go phishing, they hope to reel in your passwords or account numbers. This type of scam sends email messages that appear to come from reputable companies, such as banks and retailers. The messages contain links to fraudulent pages that resemble legitimate websites. If you enter personal information, they can use it to deduct money from your accounts.

Malware

Some scams employ computer viruses to deliver advertisements, collect personal data or demand “ransoms.” Malware frequently arrives in email attachments, but infections also occur when people visit unsafe websites. Many recent viruses pose as anti-spyware programs, computer updates or other legitimate applications.

Toolbars

A similar type of scam uses malicious Web browser extensions. You might install a harmful plug-in or toolbar after downloading a software bundle. It could hijack your browser and send you to fraudulent websites. To avoid this problem, only install applications from reputable developers. Exercise caution when you run setup programs; don’t give them permission to activate unwanted add-ons.

Lawyers

Scam operators don’t only assume the names of major banks and software companies. They can also misuse the identities of specific professionals. The FBI warns that scammers use current and former lawyers’ names to create websites and seek victims. When you need an attorney, always use a phone book or other legitimate directory.

Low Rent

online shopping securityMany scam artists collect cash by pretending to offer housing rentals. They make copies of real apartment ads and post them at lower prices. If you respond, they might ask you to pay a deposit or application fee before you see the unit. Some determined scammers even break into vacant homes and show them to potential victims. Be careful if you see identical ads with different contact information.

Shopping

It’s true that you can find impressive bargains on the Web. However, some dishonest retailers offer the lowest prices by overcharging customers’ accounts or failing to deliver products. If you decide to buy from an obscure vendor, you may reduce the risk by using a third-party payment service.

There are far too many online scams to list in this article. Nonetheless, you can avoid most of them by following a few safety tips. Never open email “spam” or unexpected attachments. Visit websites directly instead of using email links. Finally, always be sure to carefully research Internet companies before sending cash.

About Dan Johnson

Dan has been involved with computers in the early 1990s with a 2400 baud dialup modem. Since then, he has been working on various internet projects for over a decade and makes a conscience effort to inform others about staying safe on the internet. Currently he works with IronSocket and some other online side projects, when not hiking through the pine forests around his house.