Internet Scams to Look Out For
No Matter how good your spam filters are, a great deal of junk probably still makes it to your “In Basket”.
Most e-mail spam falls into the category of “The Usual Nonsense”: someone trying to sell watches, sexual supplements or other pharmaceuticals. But some of it is much more sneaky and dangerous than that.
By definition, spam is simply unsolicited or “junk” e-mail. You should recognize that most of what arrives in your e-mail box is not just spam, they are actual scams(attempts to get your money or personal information through fraud).
Most of us know how common e-mail scams work:
Any e-mail that tells you that you have won or inherited a large amount of money, or that asks for your help in transferring money, is a scam. You can’t win a lottery that you didn’t enter. No African prince will magically come up with your name in order to give you money. There are all sorts of variations on this scam – but there are two things that are certain:
- it will cost you money
- you will never receive any windfall (free money)
Once you’ve tagged a few of these e-mails as spam, your spam filter will probably stop delivering similar e-mails or other e-mails from the same address.
The latest variation on this pretends to helps people who have been scammed in the past to recover their money. Please note that this too is a scam.
But there are trickier e-mails that are much harder to recognize. E-mails supposedly from well known financial institutions will sometimes tell you about problems with your account (or new security measures). The usually use the logo of the institution and often link to sites that look like real bank sites. It can be worrisome when you get one of these from your own bank, threatening to deny you access to your account.
There are several ways to identify these.
- The simple fact that they e-mailed you in the first place is the most obvious sign that it is a scam, since real financial institutions do not use e-mail for this sort of notification.
- They ask for information that your financial institution already has.
- The e-mails or websites contain spelling mistakes or bad grammar. If English is not your first language, this can be hard to spot, but it is worth looking for. Real financial institutions spend millions of dollars per year for advertising and public relations and official documents would never contain a single spelling mistake or grammatical error.
Recently, people have been receiving e-mails purporting to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. They offer a significant refund, appear to link you to the Revenue Canada website and threaten criminal prosecution if you do not supply all the “required” information on the “tax refund request”. This is a scam. Do not go to the website. Do not answer their request for personal information such as social insurance, credit card, bank account, or passport numbers.
The Canada Revenue Agency provides samples of scam e-mails, to both businesses and individuals, on their website at:
If you receive an e-mail notification saying that the Canada Revenue agency owes you money – delete it. If you responded before realizing that it was a scam, contact the Canada Revenue Agency at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/cntct/phn-eng.html.
Job scams are among the most common on the internet. They can be very tempting and believable to those who have been looking for work. Most require you to pay money up front for some sort of package. Some may even seem like real jobs, supplying tools and materials to do something like making Christmas decorations. They may even pay you a small amount of money for your first effort in order to persuade you to invest more. This is never a good idea. It would take a book to describe the hundreds of clever ways these ‘companies” have used to get their hands on your money.
The main rule of thumb: if you have not applied for a job at the company that is making the job offer, it is almost certainly a scam.
Here is a sample of a recent Job Placement scam:
We’re offering part-time “work from home job placements”. We need services of cooperate or individuals for placement as Representative.
Applicants are needed in Canada, USA and Europe.
The service includes; Attending to local clients and processing transactions locally within the region. To aid and improve timely customer delivery and demands, and to reduce tax practices.
We’ll prefer to have a Representative to aid operations in these regions.
If interested kindly reply to: email address.