Are you concerned about crossing paths with an online scammer? Online scams are rampant across email, social media, and more; however, that doesn’t mean we should live in fear when using the internet. Identifying an online scammer in the wild may seem daunting, but often they closely follow each other’s patterns. By copying the scams of another scammer, we start to get a glimpse into their inner workings. After years of investigating online scams, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 online scams we’ve seen in the wild. In this blog, we’ll discuss these types of scams, how they operate, and how to avoid them.

Phishing Scams: Protect Your Personal Information

Phishing scams are like cunning traps set to steal your sensitive information. Be cautious of unsolicited emails, messages, or links asking for your login credentials, credit card details, or other personal data. Legitimate entities will never ask for such information through unsolicited means. Always verify the sender’s identity and ensure the website’s URL is secure (https://) before sharing any sensitive data.

Online Purchase Scams: Shop Wisely and Securely

While online shopping brings convenience, it also presents opportunities for scammers. Be wary of incredibly low prices or unknown websites offering unbelievable deals. Always purchase from reputable and established online retailers. Check for secure payment options and read customer reviews to ensure the legitimacy of the seller and the product.

Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams: If It’s Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

Receiving a message claiming you’ve won a lottery or sweepstakes you never entered is a red flag. Remember, legitimate lotteries or contests do not require you to pay any fees upfront to claim your prize. Never share personal information or send money to claim unexpected winnings.

Tech Support Scams: Hang Up on Suspicious Callers

Tech support scammers often impersonate well-known companies, claiming your computer has issues they can fix remotely. Remember, legitimate companies won’t initiate unsolicited calls. If you receive such a call, hang up immediately. Instead, contact the company’s official support line to verify the call’s authenticity.

Romance Scams: Guard Your Heart and Wallet

Online romance can be wonderful, but it’s crucial to remain cautious. If someone you meet online quickly declares their undying love and begins asking for financial assistance or favors, consider it a potential red flag. Always take your time getting to know someone before sharing personal information or sending money.

Employment Scams: Vet Your Prospective Employers

When seeking employment opportunities online, research the company thoroughly and beware of fake job offers. Be cautious of job postings with vague descriptions, grammatical errors, or requests for personal information up front. Legitimate employers will conduct interviews through secure channels and won’t ask for money to secure a job.

Investment Scams: Think Twice Before Investing

Promises of quick profits or high returns on investments should be met with skepticism. Always conduct thorough research on investment opportunities and seek advice from reputable financial advisors. Be wary of unsolicited investment offers and avoid giving in to pressure tactics.

Charity Scams: Give Smartly, Not Hastily

Before donating to a charitable cause, verify the legitimacy of the organization. Scammers exploit compassionate hearts by setting up fake charities. Ensure the charity is registered and has a clear track record of helping those in need. Avoid making donations in response to unsolicited requests.

Social Media Impersonation: Verify Before Engaging

Scammers can create fake social media profiles that look authentic. Verify the identity of individuals or organizations before engaging with them. Look for verified badges and check for signs of suspicious behavior, such as spelling mistakes or requests for personal information.

Identity Theft: Safeguard Your Personal Information

Protect your identity by using strong, unique passwords for each online account. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. Regularly monitor your financial accounts and credit reports for any unauthorized activity. If you suspect identity theft, contact your bank and relevant authorities promptly.

Scammers will make up any story they can think of if it’ll convince you to send money; this is not an exhaustive list of online scam tactics, but these are the most common ones we’ve encountered. If you encounter someone online that you believe might be a scammer, consider the tactics described in this blog and ask yourself, “Does this feel too good to be true?” because if so, it probably is. Scammers don’t think you’ll outsmart them, but after learning their tactics, you’re set up to do just that. 

Looking for answers?

Talk to an expert licensed private investigator.

Our team can help answer questions about your case, uncover the truth, and build a strong case. Schedule a consultation today.