Smart internet users can never be too informed on the subject off financial internet scams. There are unscrupulous leeches at the end of every keystroke waiting to steal your hard earned money. It doesn’t hurt to reacquaint yourself with some of the more popular kinds of fraud. Here are some common internet scams that can leave you broke.
1. Craigslist – Have something to sell? Sell it on Craigslist. When used properly Craigslist can be a useful tool. However, beware of scammers trolling the site for easy targets. Scammers will send an offer to purchase your merchandise sight unseen. They’ll have some sob story about purchasing the item for a sick relative in another state. They’ll offer to purchase your item but need your Paypal account. The scam can manifest by PayPal offering them a refund or with the scammers phishing for info on your account. Always sell locally and in cash.
2. Charity- Every time there’s a natural disaster or violent tragedy in our country; charities crop up like weeds. These scammers are targeting bleeding-hearts and do-gooders. Helping the less fortunate is honorable but do your research. Check with the bbb.org/us/charity/ or charitynavigator.org/ for legitimacy.
3. Job fraud- During the recession job fraud was rampant. Easy jobs such as, mystery shoppers and stuffing envelopes from home are big scams. Here are some red flags:
- · It’s too good to be true.
- · You get the job right away.
- · They promise lots of money for little work.
- · There’s an upfront payment.
- · They solicit you by e-mail.
- · Their only contact info is an email address.
4. Senior online dating – Many of us are familiar with the MTV show “Catfish”. We need to pass this info on to our grandparents. Scammers use online dating profiles and pose as potential mates. Lonely widows and widowers are targets and having their entire life savings wiped out. Here are some warning signs:
- · Their photo looks “too” perfect.
- · They’re at least 20 years younger.
- · They only communicate via text, phone, or email.
- · They profess their love too soon.
- · They ask for money almost immediately for an “emergency”.
5. Phisher scams – this happened to me over the summer. I received an email stating that my internet provider’s security system was compromised and needed my immediate attention. I was asked to confirm my email address, password, home address, and phone number. In my case, the phishers were so stupid; they used a “gmail” account to send the emails. It was laughable. I ignored them. If you get an email claiming to be from your financial institution or internet provider do not click on the link, even out of curiosity. Your bank or internet provider will NEVER ask you to verify personal information through an e-mail or over the phone.
With the internet, the world is at your fingertips. Don’t forget to use common sense, a Google search, and your instincts.