Consumer scams are not new.
As an example, in the 1920’s, the Ponzi scheme (bogus investment swindle) was a notorious way to bilk individuals from their savings. However, the idea of that specific scam goes back earlier, to 1857, when Charles Dickens described it in his novel Little Dorrit. Back in 2008, Bernie Madoff became the operator of the largest Ponzi scheme in history, a testament that old ideas can be given a fresh suit to steal from people anew.
Of course criminal behavior goes back much earlier than Charles Dickens depicts. One of the Ten Commandments (“You shall not steal”) is indicative of how long criminal acts have been problematic to Mankind.
Nowadays, a modern way for criminals to put on a new suit is by cloaking themselves behind the Internet.
Examples of Internet Scams and Fraud
The list of ways that theft is perpetrated via the Internet is seemingly endless.
The FBI maintains a website resource of Internet Crime Schemes and how to avoid such. The FBI
- Internet auction fraud
- Non-delivery of merchandise purchased from websites
- Credit card fraud
- Investment fraud
- Business fraud
- Nigerian Letter Fraud
That last is so well known as an example of Internet fraud that the FBI lists it on the same page as its own singular category. Although it has been bilking individuals of their savings “online” since the 1990’s, the scam goes back decades earlier in the form of direct mail and faxes.
Many scams can be identified with the simple admonition, “if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Most work-at-home scams could be avoided by simply respecting that age-old common sense.
A work-at-home scam usually involves a victim who is lured by a home employment offer to do some simple task for a disproportionate compensation. The true purpose of such an offer is for the perpetrator to extort money from the victim, either by charging a fee to join the scheme or requiring the victim to invest in products whose resale value is misrepresented.
To be sure, there do exist legitimate work-at-home opportunities. Many people do, in fact, work in the comfort of their own homes. But anyone seeking such an employment opportunity should be wary of accepting a home employment offer and apply due diligence, common sense and the following advice from the Justice Department.
Protect Yourself from Internet Scams
Internet fraud is common. And even though “auction fraud” is one category listed by the FBI, the vast majority of purchases made via auction sites, such as eBay, are fairly transacted. In other
The US Justice Department lists a number of ways to avoid becoming defrauded, including:
- Being Careful About Giving Out Valuable Personal Data Online
- Being Especially Careful About Online Communications With Someone Who Conceals His True Identity
- Watching Out for “Advance-Fee” Demands
For more info on protecting yourself from
Avid hiker, bicyclist, motorcyclist, long-time seasoned advertising pro and taste-tester of too much organic dark chocolate. Founder of Skyworks Marketing, Nonprofit Fire and Founder/Producer of local cable TV series Our Ventura TV. One career highlight was working on a small team that built a business from nothing to over $100 Million in 3 years.