How to spot and avoid online scams is essential if you want to succeed online. The fear of online scams is an indication of ignorance and it is this ignorance that make some people fall victim of online scams and not get involved in legit internet business or purchase stuff online. This article is meant to educate and debunk some of the fears. It is not an exhaustive article on the topic, just a few of my observations and solutions.
From my observation I would say scamming could be categorized into 2 broad categories:
- Emotional Scamming or scamming targeted at the emotions.
- Technical Scamming, targeted at the technical incompetent or ignorant.
EMOTIONAL SCAMMING. (greed, laziness, sex)
Interestingly copy writing is the one skill that targets the emotions of people so they purchase a product over the internet, however, scammers use this skill to scam people off their money and I would break it into 2:
i. Emotional Scamming based on Greed (ploy used by Yahoo-Yahoo scammers)
In Nigeria, ( which is where I am from and reside), online scamming has been nick-named Yahoo-Yahoo and those engaged in it are called Yahoo-Yahoo boys or girls. The name Yahoo-Yahoo was gotten from the emails sent through Yahoo mails.com (this is because at the time when online scamming was gaining ground in Nigeria in the mid 2000’s Yahoo mail was the email of preference, hence the name Yahoo – Yahoo .
Online scamming did not originate from Nigeria, scamming on the internet has been in existence since the birth of the internet, however the reason why Nigerian yahoo – yahoo are so feared is because they score big hits by cashing on one of the the vices in human nature ; GREED.
The ability to hoodwink someone to part with millions of dollars is no mean feat and it means these guys are very smart and are very good copywriters (only if they knew just how talented they are and how they could make hundreds of thousands of dollars as legit copywriters).
How to avoid Yahoo-Yahoo scammers
- Greed, is one of the vices of human nature and it is what is used by Yahoo-Yahoo scammers. Some of these greedy people are sometimes gullible.
- The trick is don’t be greedy, if you did not get involved in any lottery, or any form of business that smells dirty with the return for quick gratification, don’t get involved in it.
- Don’t part with filling any information about yourself by giving away your phone number, bank details etc, etc, because you want to help someone retrieve their money stored somewhere for a percentage.
- Just be careful.
2. Emotional Scamming based on Laziness:
Unlike Nigerian Yahoo-Yahoo scammers who use email and mobile phones, as their modus operandi, in other parts of the world, scammers use websites and copywriting skills and even videos to scam people. There are plethora of websites out there, that hoodwink people to part with their money without delivering as promised in their sales copy or letter.
.For instance the “Push-Button-everything-done-for -you” type of business websites that were popping up almost every where on the internet especially in the last 2 years. A lot of so called “gurus” were even promoting such rubbish and high quality videos where made to buttress the scam artists claims but and at the end of the day, the products did not deliver as promised. These guys cashed on one of the vices of human nature; LAZINESS.
How to Avoid Emotional Scamming based on Laziness:
- If it is too good to be true then it isn’t. Online business like any kind of business requires due diligence.
- If you are not willing to invest your time and money to grow a business or find out everything about it before you invest in it you would fail. One of the ways I find out about any form of business before I join is, I go to Google.com type the name of the website or business and then put scam or review at the end , e.g. “name of business” scam , or “name of business” reviews. I then go through some of the websites dedicated to scams and reviews an, if you use this method, you would definitely get information from someone who has either reviewed the business or posted about the business activities of the business, this could give you an informed decision before you join the business.
3. Emotional Scamming based on Sex:
You may have come across most of those scam posts on Facebook asking you they just like your profile and want to get involved with you. Most of them are scams “she” could actually be a guy posing to get your mulah (money).
.Avoid Emotional scamming based on sex:
- Most of those people who post such pictures of themselves do not have more than one or two of their pictures on their page. If you don’t see at least 5 or more picture of the same beautiful damsel, know you are being scammed.
- If the person asks you for your email address to continue the conversation other than on Facebook, know you are being scammed this is because on Facebook having a social conversations and knowing about her would reveal her to be be fake.
- If she starts asking you for money for one problem or the other she has, its time to hit the road and delete “her” of your Facebook.
TECHNICAL SCAMMING, TARGETED AT THE TECHNICALLY IGNORANT
Phising (pronounced fishing) websites are websites created too look exactly like the original. A good web developer is required to do this. They duplicate an entire website of another and host it on a sever or web-host. Such websites could be a banking website or any other website that they could harvest confidential details about you. In most cases they could send the website link to your email prompting you to click on them. Sometimes they create the same website using another tld (top – level – domain) e.g. GTBANK .net instead of GTBANK.com, or , .co.za, in place of .co.uk etc.
How to avoid Scams from phising websites:
- Anytime you get an email and you are asked to click a link, hover your mouse over the link, and check out what you see on the task bar (see picture illustration). If the url does not match that of the website, do not click on it.
- Also websites that ask you for your sensitive information are always secure. To know if you are in a secure website, look out for the padlock on the browser window (as seen in the picture illustration) depending on which browser you are using you could also see the padlock in your taskbar.
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Samuel Oritsejimi Iyinbo has been making money online since 2003 as a website designer with over 60 clients and counting, an internet business consultant, serial entrepreneur and spiritual teacher where he disseminates spiritual messages The Roving Messenger. He founded Illumination Concepts’ E-learning Centre and Innovation Hub the Internet Business Academy Nigeria, to share his knowledge and to train people on how to make money online.