You may or may not have heard or seen the word “scam” somewhere. A scam is a dishonest scheme or fraud targeting at unsuspecting people who are tricked into giving out their money under the pretense that they are going to get something in return. Today`s online global village is full of fraudsters who roam the internet searching for easy prey from buyers and suppliers to regular internet users.

This is a list of ways you can identify an online scam.

1. Huge sums of money are always involved.

Whether you`re buying, selling, or have been announced a winner of some competition you did not participate in, online scammers always try to lure their victims through money. It`s either they will say you have won a competition and usually the prize is an amount that is too good to be true for which you have to give them your important details such as your bank account and other personal information. Scammers also demand cash upfront before they can sell you a product and you cannot move to the next stage of the transaction before you pay them.

2. Most of them do not have custom domains.

Most of them do not use custom emails, and the emails they have usually do not correspond with the signature name fo example [email protected], where they have a website or [email protected] and the signature has john as the signature name. In the corporate world, a custom domain is professional and traceable for example [email protected] In the event of a fraud, custom domains can be traced back to the fraudster. They also leave mobile numbers and physical addresses as their contact details but in fact, these can be terminated and are untraceable.

3. Create a sense of urgency and fear.

Most victims fall to this trick used by most scammers. They usually make it seem like if you do not buy their product or service you have lost everything for example ‘ you have only 2hrs left until the offer runs out’ and because the amount of money involved is huge, most people fall for it unknowingly. Others create the illusion that you have landed a job or you have won thousands of dollars.

4. They contact you from nowhere.

Most victims get messages or emails out of the blue announcing them to be winners of something they did not participate in, for example ‘Congratulations!!! for winning USD200 000’. If you receive such a message always be careful and avoid giving out your personal information.

5. Confusion

From the screen of your computer or smartphone being flooded with messages encouraging you to pay some money, collect money or giving out your confidential details, online scams always create a sense of confusion. The messages are not always clear and usually take away reasoning which forces victims to act without considering why they have been chosen from the millions of people who are online.


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