Top Five Online Scams

The top five online scams on the Internet hit nearly ten million people last year according to an FBI report in December 2004. That figure doubled from 2003 to 2004 and people are continuing to fall for these email and identity theft scams.

These con artists and hackers are just waiting to commit online fraud and steal your identity. Look carefully at these top five online scams and be aware of what is going on so you won't become a victim.

Scam # 1 Online Auction Scam

You buy something on an online auction, send them the money and get nothing in return. Or the product you get is a fake or a cheap knockoff instead of the genuine brand name item. This is a risk you take when buying from an online auction.

Scam # 2 Phishing Scam

The phishing definition is when a fraudster spams the Internet with email claiming to be from a reputable bank. The email outfitted with authentic bank logos asks you to log in and verify your account information. The theif captures your account information from the web adress they take you to and drains your account. These can also become identity theft scams too because they can sell your information to other criminals.

Scam # 3 Nigerian Letter Scam

These email scams usually start out with all capital letters and begins with: DEAR SIR/MADAM. The email goes on to say they are the some minister of something for an African country. He wants you to help him get millions of dollars out of the country. You just need to pay for legal fees and some other advanced fees before the transaction can be finalized. You would think people would be too smart to fall for this. But you would be wrong.

Scam # 4 Reshipping Scam

You are emailed by an offshore corporation that needs a U.S. address and bank account which you supply. You receive goods and reship them to another country. You receive wire transfers into your bank account and you transfer money into their offshore account. In return you get to keep a percentage of everything. But with this scam you are taking a big risk because you could get arrested for participating in moving stolen property and transferring stolen funds.

Scam # 5 Congratulations You've Won Scam

This email tells you have won a nice prize like a plasma TV, a new computer or even the lottery. All you have to do to claim your prize is go to this web address and pay for the shipping and handling with your credit card. In the case of winning the lottery they need advanced fees to cover legal costs. Not only do you never get the prize but you start getting mysterious charges on your credit card.

So what's the best thing to do when you or someone you know has fallen for one of these scams? Some people are embarrassed and don't want to tell anyone. But that's how these thieves get away with these things for so long without getting caught. The best way to stop these con artists from operating is to report email scams to the authorities.

The best place to report email scams is The Internet Fraud Complaint Center or (IFCC). They are a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). Their web address is: http://www1.ifccfbi.gov

IFCC's mission is to address fraud committed over the Internet. For victims of Internet fraud, IFCC provides a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a suspected criminal or civil violation.

By becoming aware of these top five online scams and reporting email scams to the IFCC you can make the Internet safer for everyone.

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