Can you identify an online scam?

//Can you identify an online scam?

Idea in short

  • Scammers and fraudsters are becoming more resourceful and creative in their activities.
  • If you inform yourself and do not react to fraudulent messages, you can avoid falling into their trap.
  • The fastest way to getting rich is often the hardest - through hard work and diligence.

Many people dream of big profits – they look for a new job or are online for dating. Fraudsters also know this and try to exploit the desires and vulnerabilities of their fellow human beings with concocted stories. The aim of the scamming is to convince the victims to pay a sum of money with false promises.

Yes, I love… only your money

If you love someone on the net and always send nice messages to you, that’s a nice thing. But if great love suddenly wants money from you with a touching story, then you should become suspicious. Fraudsters on dating sites or other networks specialize in emotional pressure. Many victims then can not help but transfer the money for the alleged hospital treatment or the return ticket.

Gained a lot of experience!

If you unexpectedly receive an e-mail  or a letter in your Inbox with a promise of profit, all the alarm bells should ring, especially if you have to pay before receiving the promised amount. Perhaps, you were promised an inheritance and you only have to foot the notary expenses before the alleged disbursement of funds. You never see your money or your inheritance.


On dubious eCommerce websites and sales portals, you should exercise special care. Sometimes, a buyer might want you to deliver the goods even before the payment is credited in your account. Or, if you are the buyer, the invoice from the buyer might look credible, but might actually be a fake. In such circumstances, the scammer has won two-fold – he gets to keep, both the money and the goods.

Dream apartment remains a dream

Some ads in the real estate portals are very attractive with compelling photos, and the price is too good to be true because the landlord is currently abroad and is looking for a trustworthy tenant. The landlord, however, would like you to pay the deposit or the first rent in advance on a foreign account and the keys would be dispatched via post after they confirm the receipt of the funds. Sadly, the alleged owner does not own anything, but your money and has disappeared.

Save your work

Even with job advertisements, there can be fraud behind it. If the supposed employer wants you to pay for work clothes or documents right after the telephone interview, you should become suspicious.

Tips to protect yourself

  1. Do not respond to suspicious mails: The trickery and fraud can only work if you react. Ignore letters, e-mails or other messages from unknown senders who make big promises or appear suspicious.
  2. Never transfer money to someone you do not know in advance: Do not give any personal details to strangers, do not sign anything. Also, do not do any favors (such as check cashing or package delivery). In case of damage or fraud, contact the police.
  3. Googling the alleged employer, landlord or email sender: Sometimes it is enough to enter the name or shipping address into a search engine. When sending e-mails in bulk, it is often possible to determine whether or not fraudsters are at work by entering the subject line.
  4. In case of doubt, ask them to prove who you are dealing with: Listen to your gut feeling. Especially if you have met someone anonymously on the Internet.


  • Scammers and fraudsters are getting more resourceful and creative in cheating unsuspecting victims.
  • Exercise caution with scenarios you sense have signs of foul play or deals that are too good to be true.
  • Get in touch with authorities or get legal help if you are a victim of fraud or scam.
By |2018-09-23T19:54:21+00:00July 25th, 2018|Assorted|

About the Author:

Mithun Sridharan
I am Mithun Sridharan, Managing Partner & Co-founder of INTRVU, where I run the Career Services track. I'm also responsible for strategy and platforms at INTRVU. An Engineer by education and a Management Consultant by passion, I advise clients on strategic management, business and Digital initiatives. I hold an MBA from the European School of Management & Technology (ESMT) Berlin and a Master of Science in Digital Communications from Christian Albrechts University of Kiel. I also run Think Insights, a blog on Management Consulting and serve as the Frankfurt Chapter Lead for The Linux Foundation since 2016. I enjoy reading business books & magazines (Economist, Wired, Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, BCG Insights, etc.), listening to podcasts (TED Talks, David Ramsey Show, a16z, Tim Ferriss Show, etc.), playing golf and watching history documentaries. I am based in Heidelberg, Germany.
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