17 Online Scams We Should All Be Careful Of

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By Darryl Henderson

It’s even more imperative these days to stay aware of sophisticated online scams, as they’ve only grown harder to detect as more technology has developed. Online safety is paramount for anyone of any age, so we’ve compiled a list of 17 online scams you should be wary of.

Phishing Scams

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Phishing scams via emails and messages have been around for a long time, but due to the development of the internet, they’re now even more convincing. With an increasing number of people shopping online, phishing scams may easily fool you into thinking they’re legitimate websites or businesses asking for your information.

Identity Theft


Identity theft is another dangerous scam in which the perpetrator wishes to steal your personal information via hacking to commit further crimes. Recently, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that 23.9 million people are victims of identity theft in America every year, so be careful when giving out your personal information.

Online Shopping Scams

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It can be extremely difficult to tell a legitimate website from a fake one these days, thanks to the prevalence of online shopping, which is how fraudulent e-commerce websites easily get your information by selling you non-existent products. Payment will be taken from your account, but they’ll never intend to deliver the product. Yikes.

Social Media Cons

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Another online scam to be wary of is through social media, which can include fake profiles created to con you into thinking the person is real. Social media can also share phishing links or even promise goods for payment under false prize giveaways. Always assume the worst of offers like these!

Investment Cheats

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Fake investment opportunities are among the most prevalent online scams. In these scams, a person is promised a high return in exchange for very little risk—and money, of course. These kinds of scams disguised as legitimate investments can often pressure victims into investing money very quickly, but trust us–you’ll only lose money.

Misleading Tech Support

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Because so many of us depend on devices, tech support scams have been on the rise. These scams manifest as fake tech support messages or calls claiming that you have an issue with your device. They often ask for remote access or even demand payment for their services. Never comply with these people’s requests!

Fake Romance

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The Federal Trade Commission reports that there were over 64,000 reports of romance scams in 2023, in which people are romantically duped by fake profiles. That’s so sad! These are created by people looking to emotionally manipulate their victims into sending them money, often under the claim they’ll use it to visit them.

Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams

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We all wish we could win the lottery, which is why it’s most certainly too good to be true when you receive a scam notification claiming that you’ve won a huge amount of money or a grand prize. These scams will often request personal information in exchange for “payment of winnings,” but it’s nonsense.

Employment Swindles

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Sadly, even those trying to find new employment in the job market can be targeted by scammers. Some post fake job postings to get upfront payment or personal information from jobseekers. They’ll often gain access through reputable sites, too, so it can be difficult to identify which posts are genuine.

Rental and Real Estate Fraud

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Have you ever viewed a property and thought it looked too good to be true? It probably is, thanks to the prevalence of property scams. These scammers will pose as landlords or property owners to create fake property listings and ask for upfront rent payments or deposits, giving nothing in return. It’s pretty dark. 

Charity Scams

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Outrageously, another online scam to be aware of is the charity scam. In this scam, fraudulent individuals pose as fake charities to encourage donations from their victims. They’ll often take advantage of emergency situations or disasters to ask for online contributions, preying on the vulnerable, which is sick.  

Survey and Questionnaire Hustles

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There are many legitimate surveys online, but questionnaire scams are often prevalent, in which fake surveys promise cash rewards if you participate. Of course, the money is never delivered; it’s just a sneaky way for scammers to gain your personal information disguised as market research.

Online Auction Cons

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The FBI explains that some auctioneers give failed bidders a second chance to send money (but never deliver the product), with fraudulent buyers sending fake money at a greater value and then requesting the seller refund the difference. This can easily happen on sites such as eBay, so be wary.

Subscription Traps

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If you’ve been offered a subscription that seems too good to be true, it might be a trap, especially if it comes with a free trial. These types of subscription cons make it very difficult for you to cancel once you’ve signed up, and you might also have hidden terms and conditions.

Health and Medical Fraud

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One particularly life-ruining online scam to watch out for is any online health service or medical pharmacy offering counterfeit or dangerous drugs. These scams are most notable for offering seemingly miracle cures for serious conditions, and they’ll likely demand payments for medical services they’ll never deliver.

Cryptocurrency Scams

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With the rise of cryptocurrency also comes the risk of online crypto scams, most often seen with offers of fake crypto investment opportunities. According to Investopedia, examples of these scams also include extortion emails, fake company alerts, and even blackmail.

Travel Cons

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Our final online scam to watch out for could ruin your next vacation: the travel con. This includes incredible packages being sold at a shockingly low price; scammers will often pose as legitimate travel agents to get your booking and payment, and the rest is history. So, always work with a reputable travel agent!

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