common online scams


Note on common online scams, created by Stephen Reed on 11/07/2017.
Stephen Reed
Note by Stephen Reed, updated more than 1 year ago
Stephen Reed
Created by Stephen Reed about 5 years ago

Resource summary

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Land bank scams: Land banking is the practice of aggregating parcels of land for future sale or development. A land banking scam is based on the very low chance of any of the plots receiving planning permission and the very high profit margins taken on the sale.

Mass marketing fraud: Mass marketing fraud is when you receive an uninvited contact by email, letter, phone or adverts, making false promises to con you out of money

Money muling: A money mule is a person who transfers stolen money between different countries. Money mules are recruited, sometimes unwittingly, by criminals to transfer illegally obtained money between different bank accounts

Online shopping fraud: Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site

Plastic card fraud: When personal information is stolen from your debit, credit or store card, or the card itself is stolen, in order for money to be taken from your account or used to buy items in your name.

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Account takeover: An account takeover can happen when a fraudster poses as a genuine customer, usually taken over as a result of phishing, spyware or malware scams.

Advance fee frauds: An advance-fee scam is a form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears.

Bank card and cheque fraud: Bank card and cheque fraud happens when criminals steal your cards or chequebook and gain access to funds in your account. Criminals steal your bank cards or cheque book; or they obtain your card or account details, allowing them to take money from your account or run up credit in your name

Business directory fraud: When your business is offered free advertising by post, email or fax, but then billed for the service.

Business opportunity fraud: A letter, advert or website asks if you are interested in making easy money by working from home, or setting up your own online business. The scheme allows you to choose when you work and enables you to fit your work around your other responsibilities. The work itself could involve filling envelopes, assembling products or selling goods or services through your own website. However, any products or services you are asked to sell are worthless and you won’t be able to sell them. You have to pay money up front to register with the scheme, buy customer leads, set up your web site, buy products to sell on, or receive an instruction manual on how to run your business. If you’re asked to assemble goods or fill envelopes, the fraudsters will find fault with your work and use it as a reason for not paying you

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Charity donation fraud: When fake charity collector’s prey on your sympathy by asking you to make a donation to a worthy cause.

Clairvoyant or psychic fraud: Psychic and clairvoyant scams happen when a fraudster approaches you to tell you they have seen something either wonderful or terrible in your future.

Click fraud: Click fraud is a type of fraud that occurs on the Internet in pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising. In this type of advertising, the owners of websites that post the ads are paid an amount of money determined by how many visitors to the sites click on the ads.

Domain name scams: Domain name scams are types of Intellectual property scams or confidence scams in which unscrupulous domain name registrars attempt to generate revenue by tricking businesses into buying, selling, listing or converting a domain name.

Fraud recovery fraud: When someone who has been a victim of fraud in the past is contacted again by fraudsters, they pretend to be a government, police or law agency that can help recover the money that was lost, but ask for a fee to get it back.

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Government agency scams: Government agency scams are when fraudsters send out official looking letters or emails to ask for money or personal information.

Health scams: Health and medical scams happen after you receive an email or see an advert promising miracle tablets and other medical cures that offer unbelievable results.

Holiday fraud: When you’ve paid a travel agent or agency, or someone offering short-term lodging for rent online, and find out that the holiday you’ve booked (or parts of it) doesn’t exist.

Identity fraud: Identity fraud can be described as the use of that stolen identity in criminal activity to obtain goods or services by deception. Fraudsters can use your identity details to: Open bank accounts. Obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits

Work from home scams: An offer to make easy money by starting your own business by working from your own home, the scheme organiser will make you pay an advance fee, avoid paying you for the work you’ve done, make you buy worthless products or make you sign up others to the scheme before you’re paid.

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Inheritance fraud: These scams offer you the false promise of an inheritance to trick you into parting with your money or sharing your bank or credit card details.

Internet auction fraud: Internet auction fraud involves schemes attributable to the misrepresentation of a product advertised for sale through an Internet auction site or the non-delivery. 

Internet dialler scam: Internet dialler scams are when the computer settings are changed on a person's computer so their internet connection is re-routed via an expensive telephone line.

Lottery scams: When you’re told you’ve won a lottery jackpot or prize draw to tempt you to steal your details or hand over an advance fee to release the winnings. The lottery and prize money doesn’t exist, or fraudsters pretend to be a genuine lottery

Loan scams: Asked to pay a fee when applying for a loan or credit? ... This is a scam that may also be called ‘advance fee fraud’. ... You will then usually be asked to make payments into a bank account or with a money transfer firm before a loan can be approved or released

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Rental fraud: Rental fraud happens when would-be tenants are tricked into paying an upfront fee to rent a property.

Romance scams: When you think you’ve met the perfect partner through an online dating website or app, but the other person is using a fake profile to form a relationship with you. They’re using the site to gain your trust and ask you for money or enough personal information to steal your identity.

Vehicle matching scams: The vehicle matching scam is a fraudulent activity played by the scammers that trick the innocent car sellers with their false promise of finding definite buyers.

West African or 419 scam: These emails can involve countries such as Iraq, South Africa or somewhere in west Africa such as Ivory Coast, Togo or Nigeria, where the name ‘419’ (an article of the country’s criminal code) originates. ... A ‘419’ email or letter is a type of advance fee fraud.

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