Scams can appear in many different forms. These are the most common scam types.
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Directory Listings and registry schemes
These scammers are referred to as “blowers” because they often telephone their victims, posing as publishers of magazines, directories or Internet sites.They target businesses and community groups either by telephone, post or email. They repeatedly send invoices and demand payment without signed authority for an advertisement (in a poorly circulated or sometimes no-existent publication).
Spammers have access to lists of tens of thousands of email addresses. They send fraudulent emails to all addresses on those lists and can cover millions of Internet subscribers very quickly. Often they will attach word lists to registered Internet domains not even knowing if they are actual email addresses.
Consumers are being hooked by the lure of cheap products from government and law enforcement disposal sales and auctions.Consumer Protection has received reports that unsolicited faxes are sent to consumers which provide that consumers can obtain current details of government auctions in which goods can be purchased at bargain prices. In order to obtain this guide, consumers are required to dial a fax number.
Have you ever received a letter making an offer that seemed too good to be true? Every day someone receives a letter that includes an order form for dubious health products, clairvoyant predictions, the path to secrets of success (for a fee), or non-existent prizes and lotteries. These tempting tactics of scammers have trapped a number of Western Australians.
Prizes and Lotteries
Personally addressed letters proclaim you have won a great prize in a competition you don’t remember entering – ask yourself “What’s the catch”. You will probably be asked to pay a “fee” to access your winnings, or told to call an expensive 1900 phone number. Chances are the cost of the fee will be a lot more than the value of any prize. If you really are a winner, you should not have to pay anything.
Psychics, clairvoyants and other lucky charms
Psychic scams prey on people’s vulnerabilities. Self-proclaimed psychics claim to have had visions or have foreseen your lucky numbers. For a fee, they will send your lucky numbers, “wish amplifiers”, talisman or other paraphernalia, which will bring you great personal wealth, often through playing lotteries or other games of chance. The talisman are often plastic junk items such as beads or even cards.
Pyramid Schemes and chain letters
Pyramid schemes and chain letters operate by recruiting people to make money rather than by selling a legitimate product or service. The victim makes a cash investment and, once they have recruited a certain number of other investors, they will allegedly receive a substantial sum of cash. Most of the time, you’ll never make money and will lose any money you paid to participate
Social networking scams
Social, dating and business networking websites like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, LinkedIn and Friendster, allow you to create your own profile and share conversations, photos, videos, links and personal information with your friends and other online users. Unfortunately scammers also use legitimate and trusted online networking services to create profiles using fake names. They then use these profiles to personally target victims with scams.
Virus spreading or hacking
Spyware is a type of malicious software (also called ‘malware’) that scammers try to install on your computer. As the name suggests, spyware programs allow people to spy on what you are doing on your computer: the websites you visit, the files you use and the details you store on your PC.