Online Scams

Scammers are the bottom of the barrel of Internet criminals. Online scams take hardly any technical skills to execute, yet so many people fall for them. You can find online scams everywhere today, from social media platforms to our private email accounts. These articles can teach you how to identify the common red flags found in most scams, and how to keep protected against them.

Common types of online scams include:

  • Unexpected prize scams,
  • Unexpected money scams,
  • Dating or romance scams,
  • Threats and extortion scams,
  • Jobs and investment scams, and
  • Identity theft.
  • Unexpected prize scams

Unexpected prize scams include lottery scams, scratchie scams and travel scams. These scams can be delivered online, by telephone or by mail. They inform you that you have won a prize (eg. a large sum of money, shopping vouchers, a free holiday or travel related products), and to claim it you are asked to send money or provide personal information.

If you are the recipient of an unexpected prize scam, you should report it to the ACORN.

Unexpected money scams

This includes inheritance scams, ‘Nigerian’ scams, money reclaim scams and other upfront payment or advanced fee fraud. These scams ask you to:

send money upfront for a product or reward,

provide personal information, pay taxes and lawyer fees to claim your inheritance or large claim that you have from a distant relative overseas, or

transfer money on someone’s behalf with the promise of receiving money.

If you are the recipient of an unexpected money scam, you should report it to the ACORN.

Dating and romance scams

Dating and romance scams are particularly convincing because they appeal to your romantic or compassionate side. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. 

If you are the recipient of a dating or romance scams, you should report it to the ACORN.

Threat and extortion scams

Threat and extortion scams include ‘ransomware’, ‘malware’ and ‘hit man’ scams. Ransomware and malware scams can involve harmful software being placed on your computer. This can give criminals access to your personal information, which may result in loss of data or prevent you from accessing your programs and files. Scammers then demand payment before allowing you to access your computer again. 

‘Hit man scams’ involve scammers sending random death threats via SMS or email from a hired ‘hit man’. The message will contain threats to kill you unless you send the hit man cash.