For about the first week the Internet was a relatively safe place where chat rooms were the big draw. Then scammers realized they could make a quick buck by scamming people while hiding behind their computer screen.
Of course, scams aren’t restricted to online, but that’s where most of them seem to occur these days.
Avoiding scams like the ones below is as easy as using a reputable review site like HighYa to check out a company’s credentials. Their business is making sure consumers don’t hand over their hard earned cash to unscrupulous companies and crooks. By reading customer reviews, looking into a company’s background and learning to overcome psychological triggers it’s much easier to determine if an offer is legitimate.
Paying Installments for Stuff Scams
If you follow the blog you may remember a post we did a few years ago about the company Emporium. After receiving a postcard saying I was pre-approved to borrow $4,800 I visited their website. The red flags started waving immediately.
It was a lending scam that’s gotten more common in recent years. The company offers low monthly payments on gadgets and home goods. For those that don’t have enough to purchase the item outright everything looks great on the surface. But when you do the math and add up all of those small payments most items end up costing twice as much.
The better bet is to simply make small payments to your savings account each month until you have enough to buy the item from a store not a lender.
Get Rich Quick Scams
This type of scam is effective because it caters to a desire we all have – getting rich quick with little to no effort. It uses the lottery mentality to lure people in.
If you have an email account there’s a good chance that you’ve received a message at some point saying that you’ve won a random drawing. All you have to do is send your information and a small processing fee to get your winnings. Sure. Some people get so excited at the prospect of getting something for relatively nothing that they don’t think to question why they need to send their information if they entered the contest already.
Then there’s the get rich quick investment scams, also known as Ponzi schemes. You receive an email about the world’s best investment opportunity ever. For a small buy-in you’ll quickly and easily quadruple your money. If investments were that easy no one would ever have to work.
Before passing along your information a quick search on the “business” will tell you that you’ll be parting with your money, not getting more of it.
Make Tons of Money From Home Scams
Many people would love the opportunity to make a good salary working from the comfort of their homes. Scammers are well aware of this, and they use it to their advantage.
Out of the blue, you receive an email about a work at home position that pays more than you’re currently making. The details of the job are there (actual work is involved, but it doesn’t look hard). All you have to do is buy the software or equipment needed for the job and you’re set.
This common scam is still profitable today. The eager employee either never hears back after making their investment or the job doesn’t actually pay as expected. Basically, an illegitimate company has figured out a way to sell junk that’s marked up so they can make a profit.
Dating Site Scams
If there’s one thing other than money that people are always looking for, it’s love. Dating sites have exploded in popularity in recent years, but you’ll need to pick them carefully.
Law officials are now beginning to crack down on scammers that somehow slip through the cracks of dating websites. These scammers set up profiles on dating sites then prey on lonely hearts. They’ll pretend to be someone else, rope their victim in and then try to move the relationship off the site where their conversations can’t be monitored.
That’s when they start asking for money. Usually, the scammer will say that they want to come visit their new love, but they don’t have the money to do so. As long as the person is sending money the “relationship” continues.
Before signing up on a dating site check out their track record. If anyone has complained about phony profiles it’s a red flag. It’s also a good idea to find out how they screen users to try to weed out scammers.
Scams are big business. Research from Ultrascan Advanced Global Investigations found that in 2013 alone people handed $12.7 billion to scammers that faked people out with what’s known as the Nigerian 419 Advance Fee Fraud. Even though this lottery-style scam is well known people still fall for it every day.
If it seems too good to be true it probably is, but you can make sure by taking a few minutes to research who’s behind the offer and what they’re really offering.