Top 5 Internet Scams

Online scams abound in the Internet and more people fall prey because some of them can be so believable.  An FBI report indicated that online criminals continue to take full advantage of the anonymity given to them by the Internet and their schemes have become increasingly sophisticated.  Meanwhile, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that annual crime complaints reported to their office increased by 667.8% between 2001 and 2009. 

To prevent from becoming the next victim of Internet fraud, you need to know how these scams work.  Here are some of the most popular Internet scams that we should be aware about.

Fake pop-up ads from antivirus software – While browsing some websites, visitors encounter a pop-up advertisement warning them of potentially threatening viruses or malware in their computer.  When victims click on the pop-up ads, malicious code is downloaded.  The victims are then directed to purchase antivirus software to fix their computers, but doing so results to bringing in viruses, Trojans, or keyloggers into the computers.  If you encounter such pop-up ads, never click on them.  Instead, close the browser or, better yet, shut down the computer.

Fake hitman – Victims have received e-mails from an “online hitman” who threatens to kill them if they do not pay thousands of dollars to the sender within 48 hours.  Other versions include having to contact a telephone number included in the e-mail or claiming that a relative is going to be kidnapped unless an advanced ransom is paid.  If you read this e-mail, take a deep breath and delete it. 

Fake government stimulus money – Because the American economy has been on the dumps lately, many people are duped after receiving unsolicited calls from someone sounding like President Barack Obama telling them about alleged government funds for those who want to apply and are instructed to visit the Web sites like or to receive their money.  These sites require victims to enter personal information.  After completing the application and paying US$28 in fees, victims are assured to receive a large amount of money, but they never do.  Other variations of this scam include promising non-existent jobs, promoting get-rich-quick plans, fake government grants, and false debt-reduction services.

Astrological readings – Victims receive pop-up ads that offer astrological readings for free.  After receiving the reading, they are told to purchase a full version of the reading with a promise that “something favorable” is about to happen.  The victims pay for the full reading, but they never receive it.  If you want to have your fortune told, the most credible site to visit is .

Work-at-home scams – This scheme is sent through e-mail, offering victims of earning extra money by working at home for a variety of positions like secret shoppers or survey takers.  They are then lured into providing their personal information.  Victims are then either asked to send a copy of their payroll check or cashing checks and money orders they receive from the fraudsters, only to redistribute the funds by way of their own personal accounts.

Source:  PC World

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