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The Many Types Of Internet Scams And How They Work

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Internet Scams- A Complex Work of Deception. Have you ever received a sketchy looking e-mail from a supposed "Arabian Prince?" Possibly, if you were present during the early days of the internet. However, it's much less common today- many scammers have more convincing and sneaky ways of luring in their victims nowadays, that sometimes aren't so obvious to detect.

"Phishing", for instance, is a much more elaborate hoax, where you are led to a site via e-mail that resembles an official website. Normally, the e-mail will be disguised as a "security alert" or an "Identity Confirmation" for a common website, such as MasterCard or Facebook. However, if you click the link provided in the e-mail, rather than being led to the actual site, you will be led to a fake one that greatly resembles the official one. Some people will simply type in their information, convinced that it is a legitimate site, and as a result, their confidential information will be divulged. While it can be irritating for social media users, as getting your account hacked is definitely irritating, but it is a huge issue for credit card users and those who do their banking online, for obvious reasons.

In fact, that is the main goal of many scammers- not just trolling to bother people, but to steal money, and another way of doing this is targeting people's generosity. For instance, e-mails that beg for donations to help a community with a disaster, or disaster relief scams, are usually phishing attempts. To follow the link provided in the e-mail and give your banking or credit card information would not be a good idea, considering rather than donating to a community
that needs help, you would just be donating to a clever con artist.

The best idea is to contact the recognized charitable organization directly by phone or their website. Although chain e-mails or messages are also obvious scams, many of which claim that something will happen to you if you don't pass it on to a certain number of other contacts, that doesn't mean some can't be harmful.

A classic e-mail scam works similarly to these: you receive an email with a list of names and you are asked to send 5 dollars (or so) by mail to the person whose name is at the top of the list, add your own name to the bottom, and forward the updated list to a number of other people. It works as a sort of gambling pool, as by the time it gets to your name on the list, much more money will have been pooled in for you to receive. Although it used to circulate through snail mail, it has made the leap to the digital world, and both versions of this scam are very illegal- should you choose to participate, you risk being charged with fraud.

There are hundreds of other clever schemes on the internet, some of which are easy to detect, others which are very convincing. Be cautious online, and do your research before investing your time or money into anything.

By Jade Sherry

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