Tips & Advice

The Boogeyman Lives on the Internet

Presented by Larry Larsen, Director of Cyber Security

Modern Internet creeps are after more than a good fright; they want your money and will trick you any way that works to get it.

Here are a four of's Top Ten Internet and Email Scams that crooks continue to use to steal your money:

Phishing and phony websites
We've talked about phishing before, and it's still the #1 cyber threat. Take a close look at any unexpected email, especially if it includes an attachment or a link to a website. Most unexpected emails are scams, so don't feel bad if you ignore and delete them; legitimate notes from people and companies you know will not have generic greetings and content.

The "Nigerian" scam
Although this scam is almost ancient, it still works, because someone always falls for it. No foreign prince is going to park his wealth with you while he arranges his survival. And if anyone you don't know calls you "dearest" or offers you "many blessings" in an email, it's a scam.

Lottery scams
I'd love to win a million bucks, but if you didn't buy a ticket, you aren't going to win anything. This scam usually includes a fee to process your winnings, and you can imagine where things go from there.

"Guaranteed" loan or credit card
This scam feeds on the old junk-mail offers everybody gets in the mailbox, but these are scams. Again, most have you send them a processing fee up front. No legitimate financial institution will send these.

Other successful online scams include chain-email schemes, in which you send money to the next name in the list (which is just as illegal as the traditional chain-mail scam), and variants of the old "get rich quick" pyramid schemes, where you "buy in" to the program with a promised return, only to end up worse off than before.

The bottom line with Internet scams is the same as it ever was with real life: if it seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Take time to look closely at what's on your screen, and that online creeper won't be able to make you their next victim!