Not all scams are harmless, unfortunately. More often than not, scams are intended to steal your money or personal information or fool you into doing some work for free.
Well-spread types of Internet scams include: phishing email messages (stealing your information while you complete a web form or login), paid-for-review sites (and other sites making you work for free), sites that advertise some services but never deliver the quality work, etc.
So how do you get protected from these common internet scams?
Once you come across some great offer and wonder if you should try it, take time to follow these steps:
Check out if someone has already fallen prey to this or similar scam:
Scam.com is an awesome forum that has an active section for Internet Scams. You will find it interesting and useful, I am a daily reader there. People share thoughts and experiences on practically all newly launched projects you may be interested in.
Purportal.com is a huge up-to-date searchable database of Internet scams. Just search the corresponding section (email spam, urban legends, viruses, fraud and phishing) and you will be offered the whole list of present and past scams documented there.
Evaluate the website / message look and feel
This is so easy and quick, just make sure the site or an email message looks reputable.
Also, beware of common words and phrases as well as other language signals:
- the word “free” repeated several times (and in CAPS LOCK);
- exclamation marks;
- ‘Sir/Madam’ as the way to address the recipient;
- Bad grammar, etc.
Quickly research the company’s online reputation
Well, Google it! The easiest way to learn what the site / company is up to is to search for it [domainname.com]. Be sure to take advantage of Google’s date operator that allows to search for the recent mentions (look for it in Google Advanced search):
Remember golden rules:
“If it looks too good to be true—it probably is.”
Your common sense is your best weapon!
Now if the guys passed the test, give them a try but never go too far until they prove they are good.