With the advent of the internet revolution and the infiltration of smartphones, con artists have gone hi-tech. If you have to report a scammer, you need to know just how sophisticated these fraudsters can be. Much like the protagonist of Hollywood movie “Catch Me If You Can” (based on the real life story of ex-con Frank Abagnale Jr.), it’s the chase that can prove extremely challenging.
#1 Advance Fee Fraud
A scammer in this internet fraud requests fees upfront or personal information in return for money, goods, services or rewards that can never be supplied. Scammers create genuine reasons or motivations for you to part with hard cash. Payment is asked for using global wire transfers. Scammers generally use mail or email for this purpose. Report a scammer if you find such emails in your inbox.
#2 Lottery, Contest and Sweepstakes Scams
Whether scammers choose electronic mail, letter or text messages, the basic aim here is the same. The communication from the scam artist will try to convince you that you have won cash in lottery or sweepstakes competitions you have not entered. Scams aim to delude you into sharing money or personal details upfront to receive the “prize.” Further, the con artist says you need to pay fees or taxes before claiming your prize or winning. You may even be assigned to call or text a premium rate phone number for claiming your prize. Report a scammer immediately, if you are approached for a prize in a contest you don’t remember entering.
#3 Dating and Romance Scams
Scammers create fake identities on dating sites. The aim is to ingratiate themselves with you so they can catch on to money or personal details. Scammers develop strong rapport or a special bond with innocent others and fleece them of their money. The excuse is generally some so-called crises for which they will ask you for money to cover costs.
#4 Phishing Scams
These are used for tricking the victim into giving the scammer access to their computer. Personal details are phished for, by using a link or attachment. When you click, malicious software or malware will be installed in your computer and it will carry your financial information to the scammer.
#5 Classified, Shopping and Auction Scams
Scammers use online means to search for victims. They target online shoppers by promising them merchandise which never arrives, after the payment for it has been made online. Another variation of the scam is that the scammer will sell a product such as a faulty or inferior grade item. Selling products just to get access to your credit card or bank account details, they will then use the sensitive data obtained to make their own transactions.
#6 Banking and Online Account Scams
These are scams where the scammer will send a text or email message purportedly from the bank, financial institution or online payment gateway, and claim there is a problem with your account. They will then ask you to verify your bank details and gain control of your online account details, to be used later for nefarious purposes. Card skimming is another financial scam for which you should definitely report a scammer. These machines capture information from the magnetic strip of the card or ATM card. The details are then used by the criminals to make payments using your card.
#7 Jobs and Employment Scams
These are offers to work from home or set up or invest in a business opportunity. Scammers promise jobs and collect fees for the same. This is how they dupe people into parting with their money. Report a scammer to the authorities at once, if you find any details of would-be employers to be suspicious.