How To Know If You Are Being Scammed Online – Quickly Spotting The Red Flags
Online scamming is a very real, frequently occurring threat.
I’m sure we all know someone that has been scammed, or has been approached via email or internet by a scammer.
If you ‘d like to learn how to know if you are being scammed online, that’s exactly what we will address in this article.
We will give you some tips to easily distinguish a scam from a legitimate opportunity, and help you to clearly see when there is a red flag present.
I’ve fallen victim to a scam in the recent past, and I don’t want anyone else to lose money to the thieves of the online world!
Who Is Most At Risk?
Unfortunately, there are many people who are vulnerable to online scams.
If you’ve got the internet, an email address, even a telephone…you, at some point, will probably have to deal with someone who is not altogether honest and forthcoming.
I’ll just be real here. It’s sick. And sad.
Senior citizens who have not had any exposure to technology are often targeted on the phone, while online daters are targeted by catfish scams, and anyone else could be caught off guard by e-mail, pop-up advertisement, or even by mail.
The truth is, unless you are well-educated and familiar with the ways in which scammers operate, you could be at risk.
They will target just about anyone, and they don’t usually give up after just one try. They can be persistent and threatening if you refuse to go along with the scam. But we will get into that in a bit!
In My Own Front Yard
A couple of years ago, when my husband and I had only lived in our home for about seven months, my purse was stolen from the front seat of my car.
I was so upset with myself for leaving it unlocked…but we live in a rural town that doesn’t even have a stop light!
I had no idea that something like this could happen in my own front yard. Literally.
After calling my bank and every other foundation through which I had an account, and coming to terms with the fact that my cash and possessions were gone, I tried to forget about it.
HOWEVER….months later I got a call stating that someone was at a payday loan company trying to use my identity to open up a loan.
And then another call, and a mailed security statement, and another security statement. All from different locations.
What a nightmare.
Anyway, I still receive phone calls to this day (3 years later), with fraud debt collector, banking, loan, and medical companies at the other end of the receiver.
I know they are scams because they do not leave voicemails, and if my husband so much as answers the phone and says, “hello”, they hang up. Guess they think I’m ignorant because I’m female, haha.
I’ve even gotten fraud medical debt collection mail, stating that if I didn’t pay immediately action would be taken. All stemming from the incident.
It’s important to be on the look out for money-hungry scammers, no matter the avenue they might take.
Let’s look at some signs that you should be looking for if you feel that you are being scammed.
?Seeing The Red Flags!?
? Unsolicited Emails
Under no circumstance should you ever give any information, much less personal information, through an email, unless you can verify who the sender is.
If you receive an email that is not in reply to one that you sent out and you have no idea who the sender is, or an email that is attempting to verify your bank information, don’t respond.
If your bank needs you to verify information or is in need of new information, they will either call you or send you an authorized document through the mail.
Scammers may gain access to your email account, which could be devastating, and they may also gain access to your personal bank information.
Another thing to watch out for is a sketchy email address.
If the email is from a so-called “business”, it is very unlikely that the email address will end with
While some businesses do have free email accounts, this is definitely something that needs to be approached with caution.
If you are unsure about an incoming email and would like to verify who it is, go to an email verification website, like email-checker.net to eliminate any doubt.
Better safe than sorry here!
? Grammatical Errors
Though I’m assuming you’ve got to be somewhat intelligent to hack into people’s private information, scammers often do not primarily speak English.
Scan any questionable documents that you receive carefully. If you are picking up a bunch of spelling and grammatical errors, something probably isn’t right.
This is not typical of a legitimate business.
If someone calls you on the telephone, ask to speak to a manager.
Be prepared though, because when the scammer feels threatened, or that you aren’t buying it, they can become verbally aggressive.
At that point though, you can always hang up ?
The same goes for websites.
I actually came across a fraudulent site that very closely imitated a well-known brand.
The merchandise was all the same as the original, and the logo looked the exact same.
Turns out, they had copied all the brands images and logo, and were advertising the merchandise to be up to 80% off.
For this particular brand, there is just no way that this would happen.
Too good to be true = Not true.
After reading some customer reviews, they ALL voiced that the merchandise was fake, and not anywhere close to what they had ordered. And….
You guessed it. They were using a free email account and did not return any customer emails.
? Unsecured Sites
This brings me to the next point. If you are ordering a product or service online, always always check to be sure that there is “https” in the search bar before the actual website URL.
This means that the site is secure.
If you are entering personal financial information into a payment portal on an unsecured site, you are in a dangerous place.
Your information could be gathered and sold, or used on down the line when you are less likely to be on guard.
If PayPal is an option at check out, I would recommend using that as an extra precaution, but still never shop with sites that do not have the “http” in the search bar.
? Pop-Up Messages
If you are scrolling along on a website and a pop-up suddenly emerges and takes up a lot of the screen, saying something to the effect of “Congratulations! You have been selected…” or “Congratulations, you have won…” I would definitely suggest leaving immediately.
This is most always a scam. Winning something that you never entered to win, or something that you have never heard of is a huge red flag.
Again with the too good to be true.
Chances are, some random company isn’t going to offer you the chance to win $10,000 with no ulterior motive.
If these pop-ups continue to plague your device, you could also have a virus. You should check into that immediately before more damage occurs.
? ANYTHING Involving Money
In a perfect world we could trust that everyone had good intentions and we could all live happily together and help one another out.
In this world, it is never a good idea to participate in anything involving a transfer of money from one person to another.
Scammers came up with a new idea a while back, knowing that they would have a better chance of conning people out of money if they did the offering first.
They will offer to give you a set amount of money, let’s say $1,000, if you agree to deposit their check into your bank account and wire them the remaining balance.
If they write you a check for $5,000, they expect you to withdraw $4,000 to wire to them and you could keep $1,000.
And if you refuse, they will oftentimes up their offer, offering you maybe $2,000 and up.
How thoughtful, right?
It isn’t until after you have wired the money, however, that you find out that their check has not cleared, and you are out the $4,000 that you withdrew from your account to wire to them. And the wire transfer is irreversible.
This is a devastating scam, and many people have fallen victim to this one.
The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter if the money is being sent to you or if there is some incentive for you, or if the scammer is trying to draw pity from you.
Why would some person that doesn’t know you from Adam choose to let you handle a large sum of money, trusting that you would handle it honestly?
It’s never a good idea to take the chance when there is money being exchanged.
? Threatening Behavior
Scammers want your cooperation.
If they feel like they don’t have you on the line they may get aggressive.
If they DO feel like they have you on the line, but you aren’t proceeding, they will sometimes make threats.
They may threaten you with the possibility of going to prison, having legal action taken against you, or even sometimes bodily harm.
There were numerous phone calls placed late last year, in which the scammer stated that the victim owed money to the IRS, and if they didn’t pay up they would immediately go to jail. They can sound very convincing, so doing a Google search on the subject would help tremendously.
Try to find out if there have been similar calls or emails anywhere, and look up the name of the company to be sure that it exists and is reputable. Always try to call the company as well, to let them know what has happened and verify that it was not them trying to contact you.
Often there is no real substance behind the threats. The scammers have had success with intimidation, so they continue to use it.
If you feel that you are in danger due to a scam, please call your local law enforcement immediately.
Even if nothing comes of it, you want to be safe.
Under pressure, scammers will let you know that this is a limited time offer (if they are trying to get you to buy something that probably doesn’t exist).
They will tell you, maybe, that you have a certain number of hours to follow through with payment.
That you may lose your cruise to the Bahamas if you don’t enter your name and social security number immediately.
Legitimate companies do not do this. They do not feel the need to try to get you to buy on impulse, because they are operating honestly and likely already have a loyal customer base.
Never enter any private information on impulse.
Do research on the company and try to find phone numbers, email addresses, customer reviews, and a real, working website.
If it seems sketchy, chances are it is.
Be Careful Out There
The internet is a wonderful tool, and has obviously provided me with a full time income and wonderful home based business, but there are scammers always lurking, and coming up with new methods to cheat people out of their hard-earned money.
Always do your research, and remember to watch carefully for red flags.
The advantage that you have is not being face-to-face with the scammer. You have time to mull it over, check for authenticity, and keep yourself at a distance.
Be safe and alert, and you shouldn’t have to worry about being scammed! We are catching onto their schemes more and more all the time!
Have you experienced a scam? Tell us about it in the comments below! It helps to inform others!
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Cheers to your online success!