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The top ten online scams
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by Himu on Friday, 07 August 2009
The top ten online scams


“Here are the top ten scams that are currently trying to relieve unsuspecting consumers of their hard-earned money. These have been categorised into two groups. The first five are those that try and fool people into sending money directly to the bad guys – pretending to be in trouble, a job offer, a favour etc known as 419 or advance fee fraud.

“The second five detail scams whose purpose is to steal personal credentials and computer data to convince the bank to send money. Here, at least, most banks will return the lost funds to consumers unless the bank can prove they were reckless.”

1. Social Networking scams
Fraudsters hack a social networking account, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or Bebo, and then contact friends and family of claiming that they are in trouble and need money to be sent immediately to a specified address.

2. Prediction scams
This scam arrives in the form of an e-mail that provides the results of a football game taking place the following day, at no cost. The next day the receiver discovers that the prediction is true. Over the next couple of weeks further e-mails are sent providing results that also turn out to be correct.

Following a number of e-mails, another one is sent offering the recipient the chance to buy the results of future games for a hefty sum. The trick is that most of the people who received e-mails would have had a wrong result and so fallen out of the process. But statistically, a small proportion of all the people involved would have received e-mails with the correct results each time.

3. Economy-related scams
Prying on those in financial trouble, these scams can be performed via internet, telephone or post and include a range of financial help and offers such as loan and debt consolidation, fix-your-credit-rating, repossession assistance, phoney advance loans and mortgage foreclosure rescue schemes.

4. "It’s me" scam
This is a scam that has been prevalent in Asia but is now being seen in the West. The fraudster calls an elderly person declaring that their granddaughter has been in a road accident. Cries for help are screamed down the phone line and the fraudster informs the person that money needs to be sent immediately to cover the medical costs.

5. The "offer you can’t refuse"
This involves the sale of a product for which the fraudster provides an overpayment in the form of a cashier’s cheque, usually stolen, and asks for the excess to be transferred back. This can also occur when targets are offered a job, for example, to earn 20% commission. They receive a £10,000 cheque and are then asked to deposit it and return £8,000. The cheque later bounces, by which time the £8,000 is already in the hands of the bad guys.

6. Unauthorised billing group
Many technologies and industries are exploited by this scam, whereby a fraudulent company or service continues to charge an account without the owner’s consent. This also includes online suggestions for limited trials or “verification only” of cards and then charging more than mentioned at the beginning. Most banks, however, will return the money to the account.

7. "Man-in-the-phone" scams
Man-in-the-phone scams use deception and trickery during a telephone conversation to persuade an individual to divulge information. The fraudster phones someone and informs them that there has been a security risk on their account. The fraudster then conference calls in the real bank, whose representative asks for the secret information. Since it’s the real bank with the real account information, the individual often answers the security questions, then provides all bank details, while the fraudster eavesdrops in the background.

8. E-mails containing Trojans
Another e-mail scam is promotional offers, especially ones for anti-spyware solutions. These can include links or attachments infected with Trojans that record keyboard strokes and attempt to steal sensitive details such as passwords etc.

9. Fake escrow services
This is a scam that is growing more common on eBay and other online auctions. Legitimate escrow services act as a third-party go-between: buyers send money to the escrow company, which holds the funds until the seller delivers the merchandise. However, fraudsters are commonly setting up fake ones to con buyers as well as sellers.

10. Phishing scams
This is probably the most common form of fraud and it is still as common and as successful as when it was introduced. Masquerading as a legitimate organisation, usually in the form of an e-mail announcing a bank account or PayPal security breach, the fraudster attempts to acquire ba



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