Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Spotting Internet Scams

There’s no denying that the internet is a valuable tool for all sorts of things, and it’s hard to think back to a time before we all used it every day. When it comes to job seeking, doing your banking online or keeping in touch with friends, the internet makes life quicker and more efficient, but there are also many scams waiting to catch the unwary.

Don’t fall prey to an internet scam. Check out this list of things to look out for.


Perhaps the most common type of internet scam is called phishing. Phishing is a scam where people are duped into giving their passwords, bank details or credit card details to a fraudster when they think they are dealing with their bank. Phishing emails can look very professional and convincing, and look as if they have indeed originated from your bank, and ask you to log on and confirm or update your details. Clicking on links takes you to the fraudsters websites, and inputting your user name and password allows them to log into your real bank account and clear it out. Remember that banks, building societies and credit card companies never send out random emails asking you to confirm your details, so just ignore emails of this kind. If you are in any doubt about an email, call your bank and ask them rather than trusting the email.

Sudden Inheritance or Lottery Win

The second most common type of scam, which many people are aware of but which still dupes thousands every year is a scam surrounding some sort of windfall. The email will state that a distant relative has died overseas, or that a government requires your assistance to move money around, or that you’ve won a foreign lottery. All you need to do to secure many millions of dollars is to send a few hundred as a “processing fee”. If you send money off you will never see it again, and you will also never see the large sum of money promised. The best thing to do with these sorts of emails is to delete them immediately and warn everyone else to do likewise.

Pyramid Selling

Many people all over the world are wondering how to make quick money and fraudsters can prey on this by sending out emails promising some fantastic business opportunity. Not all how to make quick money emails are scams, but many are just pyramid selling schemes with no real business, and in order to recoup the fees you are asked for you have to con more people into signing up. Many other how to make quick money schemes centre around working from home, and you are asked for a sum of money as a registration fee. Again there is no real work and you will never see your fee again. Thoroughly research any business opportunity before signing up as it can be difficult to sort the genuine possibilities from the scams.

Internet Selling Scams

Millions of us use sites like Ebay to buy and sell successfully, but this is another area open to scamming. Never agree to deal with someone away from the site, especially if they offer you a sum considerably more than the item’s value. Once you have posted the item to the scammer, you will find that the money they have sent or promised fails to materialize or they have presented a fraudulent cheque, leaving you out of pocket for the value of the item. Don’t get greedy when buying and selling online, and if someone offers you a deal which is too good to be true, then it probably is. Report all users who attempt to scam you in this manner to the websites concerned, or to the police.

Internet based freelance writer Kay Brown has many years’ experience in working online and spotting genuine opportunities about how to make quick money. 

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Integrated Family Community Services is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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IFCS’ Tax ID # 84-0579740