As in a state lottery, the lure of easy money is sometimes just too hard to turn down. Or is it? The truest answer to that question is found in the plethora of online financial scams. The sheer volume of these scams clog inboxes and trick unsuspecting Internet users with slick, albeit fake, websites designed to steal from anyone who dares to enter.
Among the hundreds of online financial scams present today, five of the most common and popular in terms of scope and danger are mentioned here.
Nigeria email scam
If an email address exists, the likelihood is high that its inbox is harboring a dangerous villain by the name of the “Nigerian email scam.” Although the only giveaway at first is the source of the email, these clever emails are disguised as a plea for help, or they insist that millions of dollars are waiting for them because they have just been awarded this money.
Unfortunately, many people fall prey to these because of human nature. For example, a crook might invite people to a local meeting room or convention hall to hear about a “hot” investment that will guarantee unusually high returns. In some cases, a free meal may be offered to impress the visitors and to put them at ease. In almost every case, the investments discussed don’t exist, but the visitors feel obligated to reciprocate with money because of the free meal. Once the money is received, the scammer is gone forever.
Crooks will resort to the Internet and falsely advertise penny stocks such as green energy as a wise investment capable of creating huge returns. Instead, once the stock prices are artificially inflated, the crooks sell off the shares and steal the money.
Payday lender collection scam
Thousands of people have been contacted by phony payday loan collectors who demand payments in excess of $1000 from people who don’t owe the money. These people are told they will be arrested unless they “pay up” immediately, or threaten legal action.
Telephone jackpot scam
Although most people are reluctant to answer a telephone call from a stranger, many still do. Often, the caller will claim that the person just won the lottery and all they need do is pay a small processing free to receive their money. Once the banking information is given, the victim’s bank account is drained, and the transaction is untraceable.