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 objective of an online scam 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 that 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 cannot help, but transfer the money for the alleged hospital treatment or the return ticket.
Sometimes, you unexpectedly receive an email or a letter in your Inbox with a promise of profit. In this case, all the alarm bells should ring! This is especially true, 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. The story ends in your never seeing 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.
Some ads in the real estate portals are very attractive with compelling photos. And, the price is too good to be true. Usually, the landlord is currently abroad and is looking for a trustworthy tenant. However, the landlord wants you to pay the deposit or the first rent in advance to a foreign account. The keys would be dispatched via post after they confirm the receipt of the funds. Sadly, the alleged owner does not own anything and your money has disappeared!
Job advertisement scam
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.