According to my research, about 700 people search online for a list of internet scammers every day. They must have heard of online scams and hence they want to make sure they do not fall victim to these online charlatans. If they go online they will find such a list but it will not be very useful.

One site I check listed about 1,804 scammers’ sites to avoid. It’s obvious how tedious it is to check against this list even though it is listed in alphabetical order. There are many more lists.

And remember, scammers, are like a chameleon when their true color has been exposed they change to another color! For example, when someone exposed XXX as a scam site they can easily create a new site, YYY.

Hence, any list out there may be out of date by the time you check it. Hence, not very useful.

A list of internet scams
A list of internet scams

BUT, a list of internet scams is most useful because it explains how the scams work no matter what name the scammer choose for their online trap.

Hence, here’s a list of the latest internet scams you need to know and how to avoid them.

The classic Spanish Prisoner Con

The classic Spanish Prisoner Con is similar to the Nigerian scam, also sometimes known as Nigerian 419, named for the section of the Nigerian criminal code it violates. (Read here The Classic Spanish Prisoner Con) Despite its name, Nigerian scam, the scammers could be from anywhere in the world.

In 2007, 22-year-old John Rempel, an Ontario man, thought he had hit a jackpot when an email addressed to him explained that a distant relative had died and left him $12.8 million inheritance. He was ecstatic! The email was from an attorney named Matthew Spenser. John Rempel fell for this con hook, line, and sinker. First, he was told to wire $2,500 as documentation fee. He wired the money. That was just the start

He said, “After that … it never stopped. They were like, ‘Just this bit yet and then it’s going to happen.'” He was told to pay government tax, inheritance fee, and so on, which he dutifully paid.

When he started to have doubt, he insisted to meet the attorney Matthew Spenser. The scammer agreed, and John Rempel flew to England. They met in a motel. Now he was convinced this was all genuine. He handed over another $35,000!

John Rempel
John Rempel

When he returned to Ontario, more emails came asking for more money. He borrowed from his parents, his relatives, and his friends. Finally, when he said he has no more money to pay, the scammers played a final cruel joke on him They told him to wait for them at New York airport. He waited for 2 weeks But they never come.

How to avoid falling victim to the Nigerian 419 scam?

Some said, look for grammatical mistakes in the email or that when the email request for money, it’s a scam.

What I recommend is just this one rule: Any email from a stranger wanting to give you money is a scam!

OK, so you do believe that you had an uncle named Rubesquintine Rumpleskin who had recently passed away and there is a 1% chance that he did leave you a fortune. Follow rule no 2: Please check with an attorney first.

Love scam – How beautiful is your picture Audrey

Love scam is a variation of the Nigerian scam. The hook is love.

Audrey Elaine Elrod, in her early fifties, was in the midst of a divorce. She was looking for love to start a new chapter in her life. That’s when she received a Facebook friend invitation from Duke Mc Gregor, a handsome man in his late forties.

“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read. Then Duke introduced himself as an oil-rig engineer from Aberdeen. That he was a single parent to a 17-year-old son, Kevin. He was looking for a special someone and he ended his message with, “by the Grace of God I will meet that someone again.”

Soon they began chatting online for hours. Duke’s son Kevin too, began chatting with Audrey. She enjoyed his funny emails. Of course, Mc Gregor and Kevin are the same person.

Audrey Elaine Elrod
Audrey Elaine Elrod

In just a month, Elrod and Mc Gregor were talking marriage! Then the request for money started.

Duke wrote that Kevin had been involved in an accident and needed a few thousands for medical care. She has grown fond of the boy so she wired the money. Soon, he was asking for money for a high-powered drill, $6,000. A new Personal computer, a few more thousands. Kevin’s trip to somewhere, a few more thousands.

It reached a point she was sending three-quarters of her weekly take-home pay. She sold her washing machine. She sold her jewelry. She sold her car. And finally, she quit her $19-an-hour clerical job at the Mecklenburg County Health Department so she could cash her retirement account and gave the money to him.

Yeah, I know, you want to whack the scammer in the face for bilking a vulnerable woman dry.

How to avoid falling for a love scam?

I recommend this one simple rule to weed out love scam: When your love interest starts to ask for money, that’s a clear sign to cut the relationship.

OK, the heart can be deceiving. It wants to believe even when there are so many doubts. Then follow rule no. 2. Tell a good friend for an impartial opinion. It’s better to be a fool with money than a fool without money!

Lottery scam – Congratulations, you have won $100,960!

You have won $100,000!
You have won $100,000!

Roger A. Knew all about lottery scam. So when he received an email informing him that he has won $100,960 from a Spanish lottery firm, he decided to play along. He decided that once they started to ask him to pay for taxes or processing fee to get his prize, he would know for sure this was a scam.

They never asked for money.

Instead, they sent him a Banker’s check for $7,600 as the first installment of his winning! The check of $7,600 was credited to his account. He was told to pay for $5,500 for taxes and fee and they will send him a check for the balance of $93,360. Roger wired them the $5,500.

Later, his bank informed him the Banker’s check was a fake and debited $7,600 from his account.

How to avoid a lottery scam?

Simple really: Do not be greedy! Repeat, do not be greedy! And oh, if you did not buy a lottery, how could you have won? Really?

Phishing – how Rutbergs’s friends were scammed

If Phishing reminds you of fishing that’s because both uses a bait in catching a victim or a fish. In phishing the scammer attempts to get your username, password, or credit card details so that they can steal your money, using authentic-looking but fake website.

Phishing, hooked!
Phishing, hooked!

Bryan Rutberg received an email from Facebook telling him that there is a problem with his Facebook account. He was asked to click on a link to connect to his Facebook account so as to update his account.

He was taken to a fake web page that appeared like Facebook log-in page and was told to enter his username and password. He did as he was told, after all, you can trust Facebook, right?

The scammer then hijacked Rutberg’s account and sent messages to his friends informing them that he had been robbed while holidaying in London and requesting them to send money to a bank account of Western Union’s branch in London. His friends, thinking Rutberg was in need of cash, wired ‘him’, the scammer, the cash.

It could be worst. If the email has been from his ‘bank’ and he has given his username and password of his banking account, the scammer could have cleaned out his money or max up his credit card.

How to avoid a Phishing scam?

On important tip is to look at the beginning of the link address. It should have https://. Phishing scams will just have http:// (no “s”). If your guts feeling tells you something is not right, don’t click on the link. If the email appears to be from your bank, call them to confirm.

Fake job scam – $25 per hour!

Adrian H. was so excited about the job offer that pays $25 per hour from a reputable company! He has been unemployed for some time and was desperate to get a job. He was required to pay $100 for a processing fee. He paid.

You are hired!
You are hired!

The job offer turned up to be just a scam. In all, about 250-300 people were cheated. The scammer must have made $25,000 – $30,000.

What is heartbreaking about this kind of scam is that these innocent victims not only lost money, which probably they borrowed, but also their faith in humanity. The let-down must have hit them hard.

Adrian H. said, “I’m devastated – especially with Christmas and the holidays coming.”

How to avoid a fake job scam?

This is a tough one. It’s because you may have posted your resume online. And so to receive a job offer is a good thing. For more information on how to avoid a job scam, please read here.

As you can see a list of scammers is not very helpful. Some scammers use legitimate company names as their front. But understanding how certain scams work is a better protection. For more information, please read How to avoid scams online, remember A.SCAM.

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Please share other internet scams you have encountered.

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