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The Top Internet Scams
By: wubayou
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    Do you feel overwhelmed by the growing amount of scams on the Web? If so, you are not alone. We will help you get familiar with some of the top internet scams to make it easier to detect them.

    The internet is without a doubt a wonderful and exciting place filled with information on pretty much anything you could imagine.  Unfortunately, its popularity and importance in everyday life has attracted cybercriminals that do their best to victimize users for financial and other gains.  Internet scams are nothing new, and as time passes they seem to be getting more sophisticated. 

    As internet scams are detected, the criminals behind them work harder to come up with new ideas to bypass detection.  Unless you constantly keep up with news in the world of internet security, you may be unaware of certain scams that are making the rounds.  To help you stay informed of what is out there and to show you some of the techniques being employed by scammers, this article will detail some of the top internet scams that have been annoying and victimizing users for some time now.  There are obviously variations of these scams, but the ones listed are what you will normally find.  Hopefully reading about these scams will open your eyes as to what is out there and what could pop up in the future.

    Loan or Credit Scam with Upfront Fees

    With the economy in such a bad position, many people are scrambling just to make ends meet.  Credit cards are a viable option for many when it comes to paying the bills, so the need for such fallbacks as an emergency is rather high.  Cybercriminals know this and have devised scams that require upfront fees in exchange for quick loan and credit card approvals.

    This scam, like many others, leverages the power of human greed and the never-ending need for money.  Some may be so blinded by the promise of a quick loan or credit card approval that they fail to see the ridiculousness of the offer.  Would a legitimate bank or financial institution require you to pay hefty fees upfront in exchange for credit?  It is not likely.  After all, many people in need of a quick loan do not have the necessary money to pay for such fees.  Also, why would an institution approve a loan without knowing any of your credit history?  That would be a huge risk.  Here is another example of a scam that is too good to be true.  Still, it works and has successfully lined the pockets of its creators with the money of unsuspecting victims.

    Money at Home Scam

    There is no shortage of programs on the Web that promise you big paychecks for doing virtually nothing.  These programs say that you can work at home and make money by simply running a program on your computer.  Sometimes that program reportedly stores “printed reports” on disk, or says that you will perform a similar function for the company.  Now, before we go any further, think of how silly this sounds.  If you could truly run a program on your computer and get paid well for doing so, wouldn’t everybody be doing it?  Sure, but that is not the case.  Yet, this scam still works on those eager to make quick cash.

    The money at home scam basically sends you to a page where you can download and install a program onto your computer once you send the scammers money for the instructions.  You must disclose your PayPal or other financial account information in order to receive your large payouts.  You also get a user ID for your account.  After installing the program, you usually have to keep it continuously running on your computer to generate click revenue for the scammers.  In addition to being an illegitimate click fraud practice, these programs can really bog down your computer’s performance.  Oh, and as for the big paydays – forget about it.  You not only sent the scammers money to participate in the program, but you also generated revenue – for them. 

    The 419 Scam

    Sometimes referred to as the Nigerian scam, the 419 scam is an offshoot of the Spanish Prisoner scheme from the 1920’s.  It is hard to believe that this scam works, but it certainly does, and it is still making its way around the Web via email. 

    The email usually comes from a member of a prominent Nigerian family.  The person sometimes claims that their family member has passed away, leaving a fortune behind.  A portion of this fortune can become yours if you perform a simple task, such as covering legal fees or something similar.  The scam preys upon human greed and ambition, and many people fall for it, believe it or not.  In fact, some will send money multiple times as they receive more promises of wealth.

    In the end, after you send money oversees to cover legal fees and the like to these scammers, no fortune arrives.  Instead, all you are stuck with is a lighter wallet and a feeling of shame.

    You Just Won the Lottery!

    Winning the lottery would be a dream come true for almost anyone.  Depending on the prize amount, you would probably not have to worry about working for the rest of your life.  You could travel, buy a nice home, cars, and more.  With such fantasies filling the minds of many, it is no surprise that lottery scams are so widespread.

    Lottery scams often come through email, where a message, usually from overseas, tells you that you have won millions of dollars.  To claim that money, you must send a processing fee via money order that often equates to thousands of dollars.

    Again, does this sound logical?  First of all, to win a lottery, you would have to participate in some way, otherwise how would they know any of your information?  Also, no legitimate lottery would require you to pay thousands in processing fees just to claim your prize, as not everybody has tons of cash to spare on such things.  Although this scam seems easy to spot, it has nabbed plenty of victims throughout the years and is still going strong.

    These are just some of the internet scams that have made their presence known on the Web.  Stay tuned for the second installment of this series that will detail more of the top internet scams you need to look out for.

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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