The Ultimate Cheat Sheet: Spotting Online Scams

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet: Spotting Online Scams

Let’s face it; Internet scammers have proven their intelligence and creativity when it comes to their attempts to steal from you and I. They don’t discriminate or care who you are; their only goal is to take your money and run! Unfortunately, they successfully fool millions of people every year, so they aren’t going anywhere. This just means you and I have to use a little more brainpower to keep them out of our pockets!! scammer.jpg

Does this sound familiar?  “Pay a one-time fee of $29.99, and you’ll be making six figures a year!” These types of offers seem to pop up everywhere and have become quite pushy! Begin to ask yourself these simple questions and keep in mind these tips.

Ask yourself:

Do they require you to pay money up front?  Many scammers claim the payment for their services is for the cost of training, etc. This more times than not is a lie- the second they have a hand on your money they are gone.

Do they promise that you will become rich overnight?  Scammers thrive off of people with the get rich quick mindset. They tell you all your hopes and dreams can come true if you follow their instructions. Emotions take a back seat to logic. Remember- don’t take candy from a stranger!

What’s in it for them?  The truth is; people don’t sacrifice their time to help a stranger get rich. Most people only help if they are reaping all or some of the benefits. Train yourself to see through the lies. For example, “Earn $2,000 a day”, their goal is to bring you to their site and trick you into submitting a payment in the form of a one-time ‘registration fee’.

How are they making money?  Websites who make their money independently of you don’t need you to succeed for them to succeed. Websites who make their money dependently of you need you to succeed in order for them to succeed. Those who depend on you are much less likely to scam you, they have more incentive to help you rather than hurt you.

**Beware if you order the scam, you will most likely receive a how-to for creating your own scam. This can open you up to legal issues and your Internet account being investigated and terminated

Things to look for:

  • Improper spelling or grammarphising.jpg
  • The hyperlinked URL is different from the one shown
  • Buy-now statements
  • E-mail asks you to make a donation
  • E-mail says you have won a contest you have not entered





Protect yourself, stay one step ahead of scammers. Check your email settings and adjust them to filter what is and isn’t allowed in your inbox. Filtering your email decreases your chances of mindlessly clicking on a phishing email that appears to be legitimate. Also, look at what security software you have in place. Depending on which email platform you use, you have some level of security but it is a good idea to add additional levels for protection.

ALWAYS report it if you think you may have fallen for an online scam! Microsoft offers tips for users of Internet Explorer,, and Outlook desktop software on reporting phishing scams. Google offers online help for reporting phishing websites and phishing emails. Also, the U.S. government offers tips for protecting yourself from phishing scams as well as an email address for reporting scams:

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