Internet Business Scams

Internet has become the center of every technology-aware individual in the 21st century. With every positive, comes a negative.

So, as Internet augmented an age of fast paced work and a well connected network, it also introduced a spate of scams on the Internet, upon the world. Let’s get to learn more about some of the most common scams.

Get Paid Programs: First and foremost, not all get paid programs are fake. Consequently, zeroing in on the legitimate get paid programs is tougher than finding a needle in a haystack. Most of these programs demand a subscription fee or a membership fee upfront in lieu of their subsequent services. Sadly, these 'subsequent services' do not exist.

Work from Home Scams: Once again, a majority of these programs are downright fake. Most of them promise home based business opportunities and jobs involving typing, data entry, etc. However, all of them vanish from existence once they've managed to lay their hands on the 'small' subscription fee that you pay them.

Nigerian Email Scams: These fraud emails first surfaced a few years ago and are still in circulation. Each and every one of them is fake. People who have fallen prey to these email scams have lost a whole lot of hard earned money to these fraudsters. Some unfortunate ones have also had to pay with their lives. So, the moment you come across any such mail, all you should do is DELETE it.

Bank Scams: It's not what it sounds like. Some cunning fraudsters create duplicate (read FAKE) websites which are complete with the bank's logo, hyperlink, etc. Then they send fake emails on behalf of the 'bank', asking you to visit the bank website (obviously the fake one) and enter your account details as well as other sensitive information. What subsequently happens is that all this information actually gets sent to the fraudsters who then hack into your account and wipes it clean. This type of scam is popularly known as phishing. There are also cases of identity theft due to this menace of phishing. This is a relatively new Internet scam and one that is potentially very dangerous (since it is so well thought of and executed).

Email Processing: This is another type of scam which involves pure spamming. The user gets tempted by an offer of getting paid a handsome amount for doing a simple job of forwarding emails. A long list of email addresses is also provided to make the offer seem authentic. Little does the user realize that he is being duped. The whole process involves nothing but spamming and there is absolutely nothing to gain from it, least of all, money.

Chain Emails: This is an online version of the legendary 'envelope stuffing' scam. As a user, you are told to perform a series of nonsensical tasks (which you do, because monetary greed and logic are always inversely proportional to each other). By the time you realize that you've been conned, the fraudsters are busy laughing all the way to the bank.

Reshipping: In these offers the individuals are asked to receive the shipment and repackage it. Further, they need to send it to another address under the pretense of it being a gift. This is a criminal offense by law. If anyone were to get hooked and booked for this, more often than not, it would be the one doing the reshipping. This can hook a person into generating income for the fraud and a criminal case for themselves.

Payment Processing: In these frauds, the "victim" is required to allow some money to be deposited in their account. Then they need to subtract a commission and transfer the money to another account, mostly overseas. Then a stop payment is made on the initial transfer (the one that comes into the "victims" account) and the second transfer needs to be covered with the "victim's" personal funds. These frauds are mostly money laundering schemes, wherein the funds are used for drug trafficking or scams on eBay.

Lottery: Almost 95% of the world's Internet users may have received e-mails announcing that the user has won a lottery. This is one of the biggest scams on the Internet. Then the user is asked to pay a certain amount for the processing etc. In this, once the money is released from the user's end, the lottery payment is stopped. In this way, the user is out of money from their own pocket and is personally liable for any expense that the bank undergoes in this case.

Credit card scams: These scams involve making an offer to an individual that he cannot refuse. Mostly, the prices that are offered would be too hard for anyone to refuse, as such they start to sign up for the purchase. Then the individual is asked to enter their credit card number and password for payment purposes. Once these details are entered, the ones involved in the scam, access the credit card account. One way to proceed is, when the scammers change the vital information and the password of the account and take it over. Another mode is wherein they don't change anything and use the account slowly and consistently. This way, the user is not immediately alarmed about the money being siphoned and the fraud can be carried on for a longer time span.

The Internet has certainly made life very easy and comfortable indeed. However, one gets to witness the dark side of the Internet through some of these Internet business scams and Internet hoaxes. They are a genuine threat to Internet safety.

My advice to all you Internet users is to be wary of any suspicious emails or links that you may receive. Do not fall prey to any 'make millions in a minute' sort of offer. It is just NOT POSSIBLE!

By: Mugambi Lloyd Kevin (