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Heads Up: 3 Common Online Scams to Be Aware of

Sarah Bolton

Sarah Bolton

The internet is a popular resource, utilized by people around the world for a variety of legitimate uses: information, communication, education, shopping, entertainment, business, and many others.

In addition, the World Wide Web is also a convenient digital playground for scammers, fraudsters and other evil-doers that enjoy the ability to reach a huge number of people at a low cost, impacting their real-life finances, security, health, and general well-being.

New online scam techniques are constantly being developed, increasing the threat of becoming a victim to cybercrime.
The common goal of all internet scams is to trick users into actions that will result in handing over their money or sensitive private information.

Such tactics include influencing their target to click an innocent-looking link, download a malicious file, install harmful software on their PC, or fool people in a variety of other creative ways.

Here are 3 extremely popular scams to watch out for:


An attempt to trick internet users and lure them into giving out sensitive information (such as usernames, passwords or credit card numbers) that will be used for identity theft.
This is done by sending authentic-looking emails that seem to appear to come from a credible source (a large company, a bank, a popular online service, etc.), asking them to update their personal information to prevent their account from being blocked.

The victim clicks a link to a fake website which replicates the genuine one, where any type of personal or financial information entered on the page is immediately routed directly to the perpetrator.

Advance Fee Fraud

Also known as the Nigerian scam or 419.

In this old scheme, a mass email sender requests potential victims’ help in facilitating the transfer of a substantial sum of money.
In return, the sender offers a handsome reward in the form of a fat commission, sometimes up to several million US dollars.

The fraudster then requests that a relatively small up-front payment will be wired to him in order to pay for some of the expenses associated with the supposed money transfer.

If money is indeed sent to the scammer – as requested, he will either instantly disappear or try to extract even more money, usually accompanied by claims of unexpected problems he encountered with the transfer.

Online Dating Fraud

A romance scam is a fraud method in which a con artist creates a fake profile on a legitimate dating service website in order to find victims and financially exploit them.

After establishing a close virtual connection with the target, the imposter pretends to have a genuine romantic interest and strong feelings towards the potential victim and then tries to get money, credit card details or other sensitive information from the person under false pretenses.

Other popular examples of cybercrime and online fraud schemes include:

  • Identity Theft
  • Email Attachment Scams
  • Counterfeit Goods Sites
  • Non Payment / Non Delivery of Merchandise
  • Investment Fraud
  • Scareware / Fake Antivirus Software
  • Fake Software Updates
  • Lottery & Sweepstakes Scams
  • Medical Emergency Scams
  • Disaster Relief Scams
  • Travel Scams
  • Online Tax Filing Scams