1. The Nigerian e-mail scam. Have you received an e-mail claiming to be from a Nigerian government official asking for help to transfer millions of dollars into your bank account? Don’t even bother replying, It’s a popular scam that has victimized thousands of people across the globe.
2. “Phishing”. Watch out if your inbox contains e-mails that seem to come from the IRS or other popular companies. These e-mails can be used to collect your SSN, credit card numbers and other personal details. The e-mail may contain a link that leads you to a false website or “phishing website” that has been made to look like the original.
3. Get rich quick scams. “Get rich quick” offers abound online. Scammers entice people with the promise to earn thousands or millions of dollars in no time simply by signing up. The catch? You’ll have to pay a membership fee or a processing fee to start getting paid. The thing is, you may wait a long time for nothing.
4. Work at home scams. Although there are legitimate home based businesses or jobs online, there are also fraudulent ones. Watch out for job opportunities that require you to pay upfront or invest a huge sum of money.
5. You’ve won the lottery. Don’t believe e-mails that say you have won a big cash prize and all you have to do is give your bank account so they can transfer the money over to you. Yeah, right! Maybe they will transfer your money over to them is the better way to put it.
6. Take a dream get away. This offer will encourage you to go on a vacation in a spectacular place for just a low price. The catch? You have to make a reservation before the offer expires. Remember, scammers are always on the rush to get your money.
7. Earn money from your computer. Some scams would promise you to earn cash just by installing a program into your computer and you instantly start earning as you surf the web. Sounds good and harmless? This is actually just a tactic to spy on your activities online and steal your personal information.
8. Auction scams. Beware of sellers and buyers at online auctions who may entice you to place an order or accept an order. If you’re a buyer, you may end up sending money for an item that will never be shipped to you. If you’re a seller, you may ship an order to a customer who really has no intention of paying you.
9. You’ve won a prize. You may be told that you won a prize like an iPod, an Xbox, a headset and other great stuff. The catch? Just provide them your credit card number and all you have to pay are the shipping costs.
10. Join an online contest. The contest may seem authentic and may offer fabulous prizes but be careful of joining online competitions that are not from reputable sources. You may be asked to give your credit card info, name, address and other personal details that are needed “in case” you won.
*REMINDER: If you encounter any of the above online scams, don’t hesitate to contact the Federal Trade Commission.
If you get an email claiming to be from the IRS and if you doubt its authenticity, call the IRS at 1-(800) 829-1040 to confirm if they are trying to contact you.
To report a fraudulent or suspicious email claiming to be from the IRS, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1 (800) 366-4484. Furthermore, report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.