The Internet has given us the ability to communicate in a way that is unprecedented. It never sleeps and is in use by people and machines for every second of every day. Although we all know of the good that the Internet can do, there is also a dark side that has allows criminals to scam the innocent of millions of pounds, every day.
At Wilsons we often have to deal with the aftermath of such scams and over the next few weeks we will be providing you with a handy guide to the most common scams on the Internet as identified in 2018. These are changing and evolving all the time, of course, and as we always say, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is!
Internet fraud gets every more sophisticated but the truth is that even some of the older scams are still catching out the unwary.
Today we will look at email based fraud and that comes in many guises. Email scams are a very popular type of online fraud where a fraudulent offer is contrived using many different types of story. There are a few that seem always to be doing the rounds, likes great offers to work from home and earn mega bucks or advance fees, and over-payment requests. Here are some of them.
Send money – the advanced-fee fraud
This scam comes in may forms claiming usually that you have been left some money, or won a lottery or that a bank account you have forgotten about has come to light. These frauds famously have come from Nigeria but wherever they come from they will ask you to pay a fee up front before you can be sent the millions on offer. Avoid at all costs!
The urgent charity donation fraud
This kind of scam prays on the emotional response of people to various things from famines to felines. Most will tug at the heartstrings with compelling reasons why the request is urgent. Be very careful, losing a one off payment to fraudsters is bad enough, handing over debit or credit card details is a potentially a whole lot worse. Look for a website that you trust and donate through that.
The greeting card scam
This is a simple scam that can be devastating as it infects the computer you use with malware. Posing as a greeting car from someone you know a link will be offered. However once the link is clicked the malware will be downloaded and wreak havoc on your device. Be very careful!
Work from home scams
There are a lot of reasons why somebody would be attracted to the offer of well-paid work at home. Many of the scam offers that target people with this kind of job offer very well paid work and pay that is not too outlandish. So far so good, until you are asked to send money in advance for some equipment needed. Avoid!
The affinity fraud
This scam relies on a common interest or a religious belief or other lure to get people involved. This is less common by email but it does happen. Be very careful when you open a dialogue with anyone that you do not know, through this kind of email.
The cancelled account scam
Scammers will spend a lot of time making up very official looking emails that seem, for all the world, as though they are from recognised and reputable service providers. They might claim that your account is about to be suspended and direct you to fill in your details to put things right. Avoid, as this may give the scammers access to details that will lead to bigger scams. Recent victims of this kind of fraud were Netflix customers, although PayPal is also often targeted. Wilson’s advice would be to go to the site concerned, not through the email but in the way that you would normally access the site, and check that all is in order, as well as reporting the scam to the service provider. The guaranteed credit card or bank loan scam.
This is a version of the advanced fee scam and will tell you that you have been approved for a loan and that all you need to do is pay a small up front payment to cover processing. The amount requested might be small but the real aim is to get access to bank account details. Always go to back through the website of the real institution to check it out.
The scam compensation scam
In a clever twist this kind of scam claims to be compensating people who have been scammed! With your name on a list of victims, all that will be required is for you to send a few details and the compensation will be yours. To be avoided at all costs!
At Wilsons Detectives we have seen all the possible scams there are and then some! Contact us if you feel you have been targeted by scammers. Next week we will cover scams that target the elderly.