The first thing that you are going to need to do is to learn about the different types of online scams and frauds that are being used on the Internet. If you don’t know what the basics of the more popular scams are then you are not going to be able to spot a real scam or fraud if you encounter one. The reason for this is that many times the people who create these scams are very good at what they do and will use real company’s logos and tag lines so that you think it is real. But what they don’t realize is that there are still ways to tell that the email or website is a fake when you compare it to the real website.
Difficulty rating: Easy to Moderate
One thing that you are going to need to do is to look for some misspellings on the email. Many times words will be misspelled slightly; this won’t be anything major but there might be two “e’s” in a word that is only supposed to have one letter “e”. You can also look for characters in the wrong place. For example, you can have three semicolons between phrases when there shouldn’t be any. These things can all be spotted on a phishing email and can help you to spot that the email is not authentic.
If you do not have an account with the company that is sending the email and they are telling you that your account needs to be updated then it is obviously an online scam or fraud. Watch to see what companies the emails are coming from.
Another thing that you need to look at is how the emails are being addressed to you and what they are asking for. More often than not a company that you have open accounts with is not going to address you as “customer” but they are going to address you by your last name at least because they will want to personalize the email. But they also won’t ask for personal information online. If they feel your account needs to be updated they will contact you some other way such as telephone or sending you a form through the mail.
Another way to spot an online scam is if you receive an email telling you that you have won the lottery in some other country and all you need to do to claim the prize is to send this much money to this address and you will get your winnings directly. You can also just receive an email stating you have won this “prize” and all you need to do is give the company some personal information and they will send the prize directly to you. Keep in mind that playing an international lottery while living in the United States is illegal, the same holds true if you play the United States lottery and live in another country.
•One of the best websites that you can go to for information about online scams and frauds is Snopes. They have a wide resource of scams and frauds that have hit the Internet and they will tell you if the scam or fraud is really a scam or a fraud or if it is actually something legit.
•Another great website to visit for numerous information about online scams and frauds, including what agencies you can report the crimes to, you need to visit Wired Safety.
But one thing that you are going to need to keep in mind is that every online scam and fraud is going to have certain signs that you can use to spot if it is a scam or not. So what you want to do is to become familiar with all of the popular scams so you know what to look for.