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Top 6 online scams: How to avoid becoming a victim

According to the FBI, victims in the United States lost over $ 672 million to online fraud - in nearly 270,000 registered cases. Nobody wants to become a victim or a statistic, but hackers use new methods to try to stay one step ahead of the crowd. Below is a list of the six most popular online scams and how you can protect yourself from them.

1) "Job offer" scam

You will receive an unsolicited e-mail with a job offer - usually not in your field of activity and often as a product tester or the like. If you accept, you will receive a higher salary by check or money transfer than what your supposed employer said. You will then be asked to return the difference - only to find out that the original check or transfer was invalid and that the money you sent back to your wrong employer is gone.

As networking sites like LinkedIn become more widespread, so too does the number of unsolicited vacancies. Therefore, job seekers must be careful when choosing a job to filter out fraudulent offers. When accepting a job, never cash suspicious checks without first verifying their authenticity. To be on the safe side, you can ask your bank to temporarily freeze the funds in the account until the check or wire transfer has been verified. In addition, whenever you are asked to return the “difference”, that is a clear sign of fraud.

2) "Lottery" scam

You will receive an email stating that you have won a little-known lottery - usually in a different country and always with a huge prize money. You will also be asked to transfer a small amount to “redeem” your winnings and will be asked to provide personal information for verification only to find out that you've been a victim of identity fraud and your money is gone.

The lottery scam can be identified by a few signs:

  • The email is from a person, not a company.
  • You are not the only recipient.
  • You have never heard of the relevant lottery.

If you get an email like this, google the lottery to see if it's real. (It never is.) We all want to make the big buck fast, but if you haven't bought a ticket, you probably haven't won the jackpot either. Never send personal information to strangers by email, and don't trust someone who wants to give you money just like that.

3) "Beneficiary" scam

You are receiving an email from someone who wants to move money quickly. Sometimes these emails come from supposedly royal senders - you have probably heard of the scam involving the Nigerian prince - but often they also come from supposed business people who have to move millions of dollars out of the country and ask for your help in doing so - for a share of the profit. The sender adds just enough detail to make the offer seem legitimate. But the arrival of the money is always delayed and you have to make a lot of small payments to get the funds transferred. This fraud is easy to fall for when there is money shortage, but the scam can be recognized by some signals. Poor grammar and spelling and an address that does not match the alleged sender are clear signs. And especially on the Internet: If something is too good to be true ... it is not true.

4) "Online Dating" scam

You meet someone on a dating website or in a chat room and start getting to know each other. It can feel very real quickly. However, you can never be sure who is on the other side of the line. If you suddenly find yourself in an online relationship with someone who asks you for money, suggestive photos, or wants you to forward something they sent you, then that person is a scam. So-called "catfisher" often use the identity of a real person to appear authentic and give true details. However, they send fake photos and contact details to cover their tracks. Online dating scams have several common aspects:

  • The other person shows strong feelings after a short time.
  • The interlocutor wants to move the communication quickly from the dating sites to private channels.
  • The person is asking you for money because of personal difficulties - e.g. B. because of a sick relative or a bankruptcy.

To avoid such scams, you need to be careful with any online relationship that develops unusually quickly. Never send money to anyone you don't have a relationship with offline. And when you set up a date with that person outside of cyberspace, let people know where you're going to be safe just in case.

5) "Charity" scam