A quick guide to avoid being scammed

Mikey 8 comments
A quick guide to avoid being scammed

In light of recent events involving a woman who sent $US400,000 to a Nigerian scammer, it got me wondering why there isn't some sort of mandatory service or kit immediately available to Internet noobies designed to avoid situations like this.

So what do I have to offer apart from the usual finger wagging? Maybe this list is a good starting point. If you have a family member or friend who is new to the Internet and a little too gullible, I suggest you make them aware of this page. Feel free to add more in the comments at the end. Let's start with the one that spawned the idea for this article.

Every email that comes from a stranger in a 3rd world country is a lie.

Sending 'good faith' money isn't going to make them deposit millions into your account. This is so bleeding obvious that you almost deserve to fall for it if you believe for a nanosecond it might be true. But I wouldn't wish that on anyone, simply trust me on it.

If you haven't been to Spain, you probably didn't enter their lottery.

Most lottery commissions don't make multi million dollar mistakes. Sending a small fee to 'release the winnings' or 'cover insurance costs' is akin to throwing money into the toilet.

The little girl isn't really dying.

You won't really be sending money to her family so she can have that life saving operation. You will really be sending money to some idiot whose been thinking about getting his 3rd Porsche. If you are compelled to give money to a charity, do so to one you know and trust.

That iPod is not free.

No matter how good the deal sounds, not matter how much sense it makes to sign up with your credit card for 'free', you won't be receiving a free iPod - ever.

Viagra can be bought at your local chemist.

If you don't have any and you really need it, handing over your credit card details to a dodgy web site will leave you exactly where you started.

Your bank is not having technical difficulties.

In the extremely unlikely event that your bank somehow managed to bypass all security protocols and privacy policies, they will not be sending you an email asking you to re-enter your password. In fact, no reputable organisation in the entire world will ask you to do this. Just because the email has their logo on it doesn't make it genuine.

If your anti-phishing filter says the site you are about to enter may be a scam or phishing site, it's probably true.

Browser security experts spend their lives building software to alert you when there is a chance you could be taken advantage of online. Ignoring these warning messages is not only an insult to their profession, but also a good way to get key stroke loggers and other nasty spyware on your system, tracking your every move, looking at your files.

Your anti-virus program needs updating for a good reason.

I've heard it argued that people who are too lazy to update their anti-virus software deserve to get infected. I don't think anyone deserves to get infected, but I do think they deserve a slap in the face. And nothing says 'slap in the face' more than having ones critical files deleted.

If the invoice is for a product or service you don't own, you don't have to for pay it.

Seriously. If the domain name renewal invoice is for a domain name you don't own, or you don't even know what a domain name is, leave the credit card in your wallet.

If you don't know the sender, the attachment is probably dangerous.

Nothing could be easier to understand. If you don't know who sent you the email, don't open any of the attachments. Doing so will unleash a world of pain not felt since the days of the I Love You virus.

It's pretty simple, because it's just common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. When in doubt, ask your Internet savvy friend. But be prepared for a much deserved mocking.



Friday 14th November 2008 | 08:31 PM
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There's plenty of sites to educate people but the idea of a mandatory information pack isn't too bad.

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Saturday 15th November 2008 | 08:39 PM
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gee i haven't had a win in a spanish lottery yet but i have had an e-mail from a british one!!..just that i couldn't remember entering it..had the bank one, ANZ, quite funny really since i do not use that bank. viagara well they have ignored me stopped sending me e-mails...yeah it is common sense, if you do not know who the e-mail is from hit delete key, but then when people think they have won money........

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Saturday 15th November 2008 | 11:45 PM
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I used to work at a place where people would email every stupid chain letter and obvious hoax warning "from the police" and got fed up with it. I jokingly sent this email around the office about how to tell if someone is sending you bogus information:

"How to tell if information is bogus:

1. It came by email.

That is all."

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Sunday 16th November 2008 | 04:40 AM

Lol, it's good to know that the scams on the other side of the ocean are exactly the same. :-)
Btw, my granny, who doesn't even know what the internet or email is, once received a message from the "Spanish Lottery", not by email of course, just by ordinary post... Completely stamped in Spain and all, it claimed that she won millions indeed. She almost wouldn't believe me when I tried to explain her this was a scam for sure...



Sunday 16th November 2008 | 01:24 PM
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Hey dude..

Great tips. Sadly, the people who could benefit from them already know this stuff but just choose not to believe it. The one they are looking at is real. Not a fake. Who was it who said:"There's a sucker born every minute." It's true.

And Let me figure this out. If you figure an average lifespan of 78 years, thats 40,996,800 suckers. Over forty million. And that was back then, so me guess is that there are today around 200 million suckers covering the planet.

I personally thing think should be taken advantage of-if they can afford it-I don't believe in taking a ladies life saveings, but I can see releaving some beleiver in the rapture of a few hundred. I think if you believe in the rapture, you should be elgible to be ripped off, along with those who told you about it.

At any rate, I leave my politics and my religion at the house when I leave in the morning.


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Monday 17th November 2008 | 09:16 AM

Theres another scam method out there, that I've encounted only twice. That is seemingly beautiful women (by their display image) add you on msn. They chat you up for about half an hour, then divolge into a sob story about how they are from Nigeria, but Australian citizen living in Melbourne, currently on holiday in London, but stuck in customs due to whatever.. then start asking for money to be transfered to their account in Nigeria so they can access in London (?)

All of this an actual person.. one to one on MSN..

I think it would be difficult for alot of people to say no to that one. One of the played a massive guilt trip when i said no.



Monday 17th November 2008 | 10:53 AM
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For the life of me I don't understand how anyone would ever send money to someone they don't know or something they don't need. And Mikey, while its a great guide, its terrifying that its needed at all.

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Tuesday 18th November 2008 | 11:33 PM

haven't any of these people heard of junk mail filters? i don't even read any of these emails that come in! let alone ever consider taking up any of the offers, however once in a bad state the mail order valium sounded alright ;)

good job on the guide though :)

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