The internet has provided the world (me and you) great open doors for communication, learning and success. However, it has also provided the cheapest ways to defraud others or scam.
Many scammers use the internet to lure sincere users into divulging their personal details, financial information and others.
Internet scammers keep evolving with more subtle and tricky way to perpetrate their acts. Consequently, it is just as important to watch out for scams and fraud over the internet as we browse the web for our other activities.
The information in this article is provided to help you protect yourself as you use the web. You will also be able to educate others and know where to take all suspicious scam and internet fraud attempts to.
Take a look at the internet scam infographic below. The graph provides us with a great deal of statistics related to internet scams and fraud.
- From 2005 to 2009, online scam complaints rose from 100,000 per year to nearly 300,000 per year. Can you imagine what this stat would be now?
- The monetary loss of scam complaints easily exceeds $300 million per year.
- Top 5 internet scams with the most complaints:
- 14.4% – Identity theft
- 13.2% – FBI-related scams
- 9.8% – Miscellaneous fraud
- 9.1% – Advance fee fraud
- 8.6% – Spam
- Men report 25% higher monetary losses related to internet spam than females.
- In 2010, individuals in the 60 years or older group reported higher amounts of monetary loss from internet scams than any other group.
The 3 most commons locations for internet scams to originate are:
- 65.9% – United States
- 10.4% – United Kingdom
- 3.1% – China
How to spot a scam website?
If you are going to provide your financial information or other sensitive details on a website, it’s ok to do a small research about this site. A few things you need to check out are below:
1. Check the website thoroughly, see if there are misspellings:
The last times someone sent me a liberty reserve website to login, what they sent me was:
It was easy for me to get this to be criminals because the correct spellings of the website are https://www.libertyreserve.com. Besides, there was no https:// on them.
Those sites may not be working now because they get closed quite often. But you should use the hint as it could come in other formats
Also check if it is a domain or a sub domain of a free blog or a free website or web hosting provider. If it is a sub domain of some other site, visit the original site and find out if it is authentic.
2. Check the About Us/Contact us page:
Fake sites have little content in the About Us page. There are no physical addresses or phone numbers given. Check who the owner is/which the company that manages the site is.
3. If you see a phone number on the contact us page, try to call.
If it doesn’t work, you know what to do.
4. Go to www.who.is
…and do a search for the domain and see if the details there match the one on the website. If they are using privacy protect, you won’t see their details on the who.is anyway
5. Check for site security:
If the site has online money transaction options, check the security level of the site. Some fake sites put up SSL, VeriSign and other security logos. But if you analyze, they may not really be members of such sites. Also, check if the URL changes from http:// to https://during transactions. This is the mark of a secure site. Note that a site may have https and yet still be a scam, hence the scam test exercise below
6. Too Good to Be True:
Most business scams ask for money upfront, with claims of making a lot of money. Most times, if an offer sounds too good to be true, usually it is. Don’t fall for that.
Conducting a Scam Test
I once lost money I shouldn’t have lost online because I didn’t do a single search concerning the website, so I just went ahead and sent them money and they never got back to me. If I had done this test I would have had my money intact.
Never rely wholly on the testimonials written on a website to start giving them money. The testimonials may be faked.
Scam test is necessary especially if you are looking into making money online, through Affiliate, online investments, HYIPs, Surveys, etc.
Newbies fall into these sites quite often and get ripped off. To give yourself a bigger chance of online investment protection, learn to do this scam test before you proceed with your investment decisions
You can do a scam test using the almighty Google. Fact is, you are not the first person to use a website or internet service. So just do the GOOGLE scam Test and see what other users of same website are saying.
This is how the work is done. Any time you come across a website online, before you proceed to start investing, follow the steps below:
- Step #1: Go to www.google.com
- Step#2: Type any of these keyword in Google search (replace “thesite” with the website name you are researching on)
- Step #3: Hit the search button
Google will show hundreds of search results. You may even see thousands of results, people talking about the site. Now open at least five blogs or forums and read about what others are saying about the website. From there, you will form your own opinion.
Thanks for your time and let me know what you think and how further we can fight scam.
This article was published originally on Fortune51.com. Having moved over to this domain we feature it again afresh and updated. I hope you enjoy it.