Top 8 Internet frauds and scams of all time

As long as the Internet exists, malicious people use it to scam others. Between scam sites, email scams and other forms of deception, countless people have lost billions of dollars due to internet fraud and scams.

Let’s take a look at some infamous examples of online fraud and scams, many of which are sought after by people. By reporting them, you can better recognize the worst offenders to ensure your safety and that of your loved ones.

1. Email phishing

Although cyber fraud takes many forms, it is often done through email as it is a ubiquitous and inexpensive method of attack. Therefore, one of the most common scam examples is phishing email in general.

In this scam, you receive a message claiming to be from a legitimate entity, such as your bank, email provider, or online retailer. The email tells you that the company has made changes and asks you to confirm your information to make sure everything is up to date.

If you follow the link in these fishing emails you will be taken to a scam site. While this may look like the real page, entering your credentials here will send them correctly to scammers.

2. Tech support scams

One of the most worrying internet fraud cases in recent years is the tech support scam attack. In this diagram, someone is calling you and claiming to be from Microsoft or a computer security company. They convince you that your computer is infected with some type of malware and trick you into letting them control your computer remotely.

From there, they could cause damage to your system by stealing your data or installing ransomware. They will then try to sell you a worthless “security suite” or demand payment for their “services”, annoying you if you refuse.

3. Online Dating Scams

While online dating has many benefits, it is also a hotbed of cyber fraud. Criminals use online dating to get money from legitimate users by building fake profiles and trying to bring down others.

Usually, online dating scammers have limited profiles with few images and little additional information. They often profess love at an unusually early time and try to get you to talk about another app, so the dating site doesn’t shut them down.

To take your money, the scammer will often ask you to “cover the cost” of something. It could be a plane ticket supposedly come to meet you personally, or the sending of a package they sent you. Of course, they will never meet you and even contact you via video chat.

4. Nigerian Email Scams with 419

This is one of the oldest examples of Internet fraud in the book. Someone from a country (often Nigeria, but not always) contacts you via email in wrong English. They explain that a rich person they know has passed away and the money has nowhere to go. if you can help them take the funds out of the country, they will give you some as a reward.

Of course, this is completely wrong. If you follow, they will continually ask you for money to cover various “expenses” associated with the movement of funds, until you realize that they have stolen from you all along.

Due to their popularity, these types of emails usually go straight to your spam folder. So you probably haven’t seen one from time to time. But if you do, just ignore it and move on. There is no reason to fall for this classic scheme.

5. Social media fraud

Attackers have many means for you fly on social networks including taking your money. One popular method is to abuse your trust with your social media friends. For example, if a user on your Facebook friends list sees their account hacked, the attacker can contact you through Facebook Messenger.

In many cases, they send a video link with a sensational message like “OMG, is that you in this video?” Which tempts you to click on it. If you click, you will go to a dangerous site programmed to infect your computer with malware.

Other times, the scam is more personal. The hacked account may send you a message that it is in trouble with the law or needs money to cover a hospital bill after a serious accident. If you take it at face value, you’ll end up sending a thief – not your friend – money.

6. Buying and Selling Scams

Like online dating, buying and selling products online is another popular activity that is fraught with fraud. Whenever you buy something online or sell your own products, you need to stay alert to avoid scams.

What to watch out for often depends on the service you are using. In summary, we have covered the eBay scams everyone should know whether you are a buyer or a seller. You can apply these general tips to other online shopping destinations as well.

Avoid buying from random websites unless you have reviewed them using reputable reviews. If you are selling products on Craigslist or similar sites, meet in a public place and only accept cash for the transaction. And if someone offers to pay you more than the listed price for the item in exchange for sending it to a foreign country, that’s a scam.

7. Virus warnings

Most people think virus warnings mean something is wrong with their computer. This is why hackers create fake virus alerts to trick you. This example of internet fraud can take the form of browser pop-ups, bogus websites, or even malicious apps generating fake messages.

These may require payment to “unlock” full security features or offer a phone number that will connect you to scammers. Fake viruses are even more insidious with the rise of ransomware. These lead you to believe that you are the victim of a real ransomware attack, when in reality they are just simple websites asking you to pay money.

8. False charities, contests and more

Do not pass the crooks to profit from a tragic event. Often after a natural disaster that makes international headlines, fraudsters turn to email or other means to raise money for a “good cause”. They obviously seek to take advantage of the generosity of people who have followed these events.

Like phishing emails, you should never respond to unsolicited messages like this. If you want to donate to a charitable cause, visit it directly and make sure it’s a reputable organization.

Charities aren’t the only type of bogus message you’ll encounter. If you receive messages claiming that you have won a lottery in which you have never participated, have outstanding debts on an account that you do not know anything about or similar, ignore it. These are scams trying to take your money.

These scams can also come via SMS, so watch your texts as well as your inbox.

Stay vigilant against dangerous internet fraud

We’ve looked at some of the most notorious examples of online fraud. While you may be familiar with one or more of them, it’s important to educate as much as possible. As more and more people learn to recognize these scams, they will become less effective and hopefully go away for good.