17th Jan 2011

Top three online scams

While the YOURLifeChoices office staff have a chuckle on Monday morning when they compare how many million dollars they have “won” in lotteries over the weekend, many Australians are falling victim to this and other common scam emails.

Fake lotteries
The most common scam email making the rounds is fake lottery emails. The emails claim that you have won a foreign lottery which you never even entered and ask for your personal information, such as your bank account details to claim the prize. Once you have sent all these details they will then ask you to send an advance payment to cover all the taxes and other fees to be able to process the money into your account.

Some scammers have even gone to the extreme of sending counterfeit cheques to the physical mailing address of the “winner” as a “partial payment” to cover the taxes and fees involved. The instructions tell the recipient to deposit the cheque and to send back the money. The cheque is proven to be counterfeit after the person has already sent the money and are responsible for all the money drawn and sent on.

Dating scams
Praying on the lonely and broken hearted; dating and romantic scam emails have been around for a number of years and have been very successful in extorting money from people all around the world. It starts off with you receiving an email, usually from a girl located in Eastern Europe/Russia who sends through a fake image of herself (it is generally a man sending these photos). The exchange of emails stirs up emotion in the recipient and after around 20 emails, the girl will have a family emergency and be desperately in need of a ‘small’ amount of money. The other avenue these scammers go down is by asking to meet but you have to send her enough money to fly over to meet you. Sadly, she will never arrive.

Stuck in a foreign country
A fairly new scam where hackers break into the social networking or email accounts of a person and pretend to be that person. They then send out an email/personal message to each of the person’s friends claiming to be in a foreign country and in need of a short loan to be sent via Western Union.

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