Cases of Internet scams and frauds have risen at an alarming rate in the last few years. In this article, we take a look at some common business scams on the Internet and what you can do to protect yourself from falling prey to any of them.
“Dear Friend, as you read this, I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday. My name is Mr Adada Muhammadu, a Crude Oil merchant in Nigeria and I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer. It has defied all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts. I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so, I have decided to give alms to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth. So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in Austria, Cameroon, Liberia, Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated badly, I cannot do it myself anymore. The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of Eighty million dollars $80,000,000 that I have with a finance/Security Company abroad. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatched it to charity organizations. I have set aside 20% for you and for your time. God be with you. ~ Mr Adada Muhammadu”
I’m sure most of you will be familiar with the above email. Fictitious Nigerian kings, princes, military heads, and government officials wanting to use your bank account for transferring millions of dollars into foreign accounts, while promising you a hefty commission as a token of their appreciation. Such emails, with their amazing level of grammatical correctness, are nothing but one among the many business scams that have surfaced over the past few years. These frauds are the work of those into computer hacking as well as other Internet criminals, who are always on the lookout for some fast cash through illegal means. For those of you who are unaware of the different types of business scams on the Internet, read on.
Most Common Scams
Here is a list of the most popular (or should I say, most notorious) business scams that the world of Internet has witnessed:
Get Paid Programs
First and foremost, let me make it clear. There is some good news for all you get paid program enthusiasts. Not all such programs are fake. (You heaved a huge sigh of relief, didn’t you?) Now, here’s the bad news, 99 percent of them ARE fake (sorry!). Consequently, zeroing in on the remaining one percent of legitimate get paid programs is tougher than finding a needle in a haystack. 99 percent of these programs demand a subscription fee or a membership fee upfront in lieu of their subsequent services. Sadly, these ‘subsequent services’ do not exist.
Work From Home Scams
Once again, a majority of these programs are downright fake. Most of them promise home based business opportunities and jobs involving typing, data entry, etc. However, all of them vanish from existence once they’ve managed to lay their hands on the ‘small’ subscription fee that you pay them.
Nigerian Email Scams
I have mentioned about this right at the beginning of this article. These fraud emails first surfaced a few years ago and are still in circulation. Each and every one of them is fake. People who have fallen prey to these email scams have lost a whole lot of hard-earned money to these fraudsters. Some unfortunate ones have also had to pay with their lives. So, the moment you come across any such mail, all you should do is DELETE it.
It’s not what it sounds like. The banks haven’t started getting into Internet crime (and thank God for that!). It’s just that some cunning fraudsters create duplicate (read FAKE) websites which are complete with the bank’s logo, hyperlink, etc. Then they send fake emails on behalf of the ‘bank’, asking you to visit the bank website (obviously the fake one) and enter your account details as well as other sensitive information. What subsequently happens is that all this information actually gets sent to the fraudsters who then hack into your account and wipe it clean. This type of scam is popularly known as phishing. There are also cases of identity theft due to this menace of phishing. This is a relatively new Internet scam and one that is potentially very dangerous (since it is so well thought of and executed).
This is another type of scam which involves pure spamming. The user gets tempted by an offer of getting paid a handsome amount for doing a simple job of forwarding emails. A long list of email addresses is also provided to make the offer seem authentic. Little does the user realize that he is being duped. The whole process involves nothing but spamming and there is absolutely nothing to gain from it, least of all, money.
This is an online version of the legendary ‘envelope stuffing’ scam. As a user, you are told to perform a series of nonsensical tasks (which you do, because monetary greed and logic are always inversely proportional to each other). By the time you realize that you’ve been conned, the fraudsters are busy laughing all the way to the bank.
The Internet has certainly made life very easy and comfortable indeed. However, one gets to witness the dark side of the Internet through some of these Internet business scams and Internet hoaxes. They are a genuine threat to Internet safety. My advice to all you Internet users is to be wary of any suspicious emails or links that you may receive. Do not fall prey to any ‘make millions in a minute’ sort of offer. It is just not possible.