How to Tell if Someone is Scamming You Online

Every year, one out of every ten adults in the United States falls victim to online fraud. As scammers become more innovative, they come up with new and more successful techniques to mislead you into handing them your money, the amount of money lost to cyber scams is also increasing dramatically. The greatest approach to avoid being scammed is to arm oneself with information about their current tactics.

In this post, you’ll discover how to recognize online shopping scams, overpayment, phishing, e-commerce, online retail, and romance scams, as well as how to protect yourself from them. Let’s begin with a quick rundown of the most prevalent internet scams and how to spot them. Following the list, you’ll find detailed instructions on how to prevent becoming a victim of a con.

The good news is that staying safe is simple if you follow a few simple measures to spot new frauds and protect yourself. Here’s how to protect yourself against the ever-increasing internet crime tsunami.

Common online scam signs

You can learn to recognize an online scam much faster if you can spot its key features. Every scam we looked at has a few standout characteristics in common.


You log in to remedy the problem, but it’s to a phishing site that steals your credentials. You’ve been hacked now. Because strong emotions encourage people to respond quickly, internet scammers will frequently try to elicit fear, anger, or enthusiasm. The statement “Your PayPal account has been suspended” is potent enough to make scam victims think twice before jumping.

If you get a text or email indicating your account has been suspended, you’re wanted in connection with a crime, or your phone is about to be disconnected, delete it, look up the correct contact information online, and call to verify the claim before acting.

Asks for action

Scammers typically ask you to call a phone number, open a link, or log in to an online account. The issue is that you’re not logging into a legitimate portal; instead, you’re providing the scammer with your login details through a bogus web page or form.

Never comply with an email or text message request. Take action on your own instead. Typically, this means stopping the text or email and looking up the required website and contact information on the internet.

Asks for personal info

If you get a request for personal information over the phone, by email, or via text, be cautious. One easy rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether you or they initiated the contact.

Never give out personal information to strangers, such as your social security number, password, or PIN (vs you contacting them first). In the United States, social security fraud is common, costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

Overpays you

Overpaying for something and then demanding a refund is one of the most typical online frauds. For instance, in one overpayment scheme, you could win a monetary award or be paid in advance for a business endeavor.

But, oh no, the customer or company made a mistake and overpaid you. They demand the remainder (maybe they paid you $2,200 when they only meant to pay you $2,000). Could you please return the additional $200? The problem is that the cheque they sent was counterfeit. You’ve sent $200 in genuine money and now have $2,200 in counterfeit money.

Promises something

If someone makes a promise that seems too good to be true and you don’t know who they are, it’s probably a ruse. For example, they might buy anything you’re selling on Facebook Marketplace for twice the asking price, or they might make you an offer you can’t refuse.

It’s a nightmare version of a dream come true. You’re out of luck once they convince you to do something, like give out personal information like an email address or reimburse false money they paid you.

Wire transfer request

Be wary of anyone who wants you to send money by wire transfer. Wire transfers are untraceable, and the money is gone once it is picked up on the other end. You have 60 days to contest a fraudulent charge when paying with a credit card, and you can still get your money back. (According to the Fair Credit Billing Act of the Federal Trade Commission.) For a total of 90 days, many credit card companies will extend this by another month. In a nutshell, whenever feasible, avoid wire transactions.

Pretends to be a family member

Uncle Pete, on the other hand, is in serious trouble! One of the oldest scams in the web book is to pretend to be a family member in peril. You might get a Facebook message from an aunt stating she’s stuck in Costa Rica after being robbed and needs money wired right now.

However, after you wire the funds, you discover she’s at home watching The Handmaid’s Tale, and that someone stole her images, created a phony Facebook profile, and maybe conned you.

Offers something you want

Silver at a 50 percent discount to book value, Tesla shares at a 50 percent discount to book value, or a pontoon boat in excellent shape selling for thousands less than it should? These all sound like things you should do quickly, yet the word “quick” should make you slam on the brakes.

Con artists frequently use dazzling bait to entice you to transmit money over the internet. But it’s not always money that they’re chasing. They may only be after your phone number or other personal information in order to sell it to third parties.

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