Types of Internet Fraud - Top Internet Fraud Scams

Together with spam advertisements selling prescription medicines, cheap mortgage rates, loans and online gambling sites, there are a number of top internet fraud scams whose sole objective is to separate you from your hard earned money. Well known types of internet fraud, which have been around for years, are the Nigerian online scams, in particular, the Nigerian Bank Scam.

The sender, allegedly the wife or relative of a former Nigerian dictator, or government official tells the sad story of how millions of dollars were deposited into a bank account which is no longer accessible. In exchange for your assistance, they are willing to share this wealth. However, they will need you to cover 'expenses' which will mean you transferring a few thousands from your bank account. As ludicrous as it may seem, numerous people fall for this one every year. Indeed, in one well publicised case, an elderly Czech man who had lost his life savings to this Nigerian scam shot the Nigerian consul in Prague.

Some internet fraud involves investment opportunities with massive paybacks. They normally claim to be risk free, but once they have your money, you are very unlikely to see any return.

Other common online scams involve offering credit cards for those with bad credit ratings - just send a security deposit and processing fees. In return you get... nothing!. By the time that you realise that you have been 'had' and start to investigate, the scam artist has disappeared.

Then there are the infamous MLM or multilevel marketing schemes, urging you to buy large quantities of the latest new product. You can then resell for an easy profit while receiving a commission on each sale from the greater fool down the line. Of course, once you have parted with your money and bought the goods, the so called distributor will have disappeared, invariably without even sending the goods that you bought and paid for.

Bear in mind that these offers are worse than even normal spam. Legitimate businesses do not, or should not, promote their products by spamming. They email selected groups, normally previous customers or other prospects that have signed up onto a mailing list. Any other offers should almost always be ignored - merely hit your delete button. Sometimes however, the mere fact that you have highlighted the email in order to delete it can signal a spammer that you have received that message.

One golden rule is to never reply to spam. Doing so simply indicates to the spammer that your email address is valid, and then you will receive more spam than before. Some spam contains a message offering to remove your email address from their mailing list. Do not use even this service as it is nothing more than another method to verify your email address.

Most importantly, never give your credit card number, bank account data or private details to anyone unknown over the Internet. PayPal or your Bank for example, will never ask for your password in an email. One common scam is to fake return addresses and tailor subject lines and content so the message appears to be from them or another financial institution confirming your details. They are all internet scams - Don't fall for them.

How do you know whether it's spam? Since, one man's spam is sometimes another's welcomed advertisement, there's no perfect answer. But there is one good rule of thumb: if you don't recognise the sender, it is more than likely not someone you want to hear from, especially it is from a former Nigerian dictator!