Money scams have always been around in some form or other, taking on every guise, from the pyramid scheme to the Ponzi scheme. Below we shall present to you three of the most commonly seen scams at the moment, so that you may know not to fall for them or any of their clones.
- Smishing Money Scams
This is so often encountered, so widespread, that practically every person in the world, who owns a mobile phone can claim to have received a smishing message at least once. This may not be the most frightening-sounding of money scams, name-wise, but the appellation does give you some idea of what is involved. It comes from the words “SMS” and “phishing”. In other words, this is one of the money scams that try to fish for your personal or financial information.
The smishing scheme usually begins with a text message claiming to be from a company you know—in most cases, it is one, whose goods or services you use. It might even claim to be from your bank. The goal of the message is to get you to send back private information, e.g. your credit card details or bank account name and number. There are two possible ways to spur you to this action:
- The threat, where you are advised that something may go wrong or has gone wrong with your bank account and you need to act quickly
- The gift, where you are advised that you qualify for a high-value prize or certificate the company is giving out as a promo
Either way, this does something typical of money scams: it tries to collect information you should never give out freely to strangers.
- Preying on Pity: The False Charity
False charity money scams tend to come popping out of the woodwork, whenever some sort of catastrophe happens. It could be a landslide, it could be a freak storm, it could be a multi-car pileup on the freeway—wherever there are bound to be victims, who can be pitied, the scammers come running to pretend to help.
The idea behind this scam is to pretend to be representing a charity (either a real or false one) and collect donations for it. The scammer claims that the collections shall be going to help the victims of the catastrophe, but really just makes away with the cash. If you are unlucky enough to turn in a donation via credit or debit card , he can do added damage by getting your card details.
To avoid money scams of this sort, stick to proven charities and donate only on their official websites, or verified representatives at their offices.
- The Mimicked Login Page
This is another nefarious scheme to collect your banking information without your knowledge. It comes in many forms, but the most common is a login page that looks exactly like the login page for a legitimate website. The copied page is usually one for a charity accepting monetary donations or for a bank or other payment processor. The user gets to that false login page by clicking a link in an email he does not realize was sent by a scammer.
This is why fraud experts say, you should avoid clicking on links in emails. A lot of money scams are actually set up to rely on those links, which explains why circumspection about where you place your cursor is important for your security.