Weekend Open Forum: Have you, or someone you know, ever been victim of Internet scams?

By on February 10, 2012, 7:30 PM

Although most Internet users have probably wised up -- or so we'd hope -- to old scams involving some wealthy foreigner who's supposedly being cheated out of millions of dollars and promises a small fortune in exchange for help spiriting money out of the country, the truth is scammers are getting more sophisticated and creative in finding ways of duping folks to part with their cash or personal information.

Some of them use legitimate-looking sites masquerading as a reputable company, others lure people with offers of free or cheap consumer electronics, while some prey on desperate job seekers with bogus work-from-home programs paying an unrealistically generous salary for part-time labor.

On top of all that, even if you are cautious enough not to fall for such schemes, there's also the risk your personal information might fall in the wrong hands if a service you use is compromised by hackers.

In this Weekend Open Forum we want to know: have you, or anyone you know, ever been victim of online frauds of any kind? From an embarrasing attempt at making a quick buck, to online purchases where the seller didn't keep his end of the deal, or unexpected charges to your credit card. Tell us your story.




User Comments: 24

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---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yeah my best friend who is computer smart was thinking with the wrong head apparently. He was looking for a third renter/roommate for a house he had bought. He turned to Craigslist and actually believed he was talking to a girl from France who was going to move in. She mailed something crazy like $3500, we went to the bank together and the bank teller told him it was a valid money order. Then she needed the money back for some emergency relating to her grandfather. Lets just say his account was very upside down a few days later.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Purchased a PC once...Then a Mac. Swindled twice!

davislane1 davislane1 said:

As for seriously being scammed... Nope. I've been on the web since the 90s so I've learned the scent of a good scam. I've heard stories of people who've been victim, though. Bogus URLs phishing for account data, doing business with unsecured online retailers, etc. Typically it seems to happen with people who are extremely behind the tech curve or those with more credit cards than sense.

Timonius Timonius said:

If you count horrible online business practices and their terrible customer service then YES!

Tygerstrike said:

Yup my father...old codger that he is, fell for a fishing email. It ended up costing him over 50 grand. He lost his house. He lost all his savings. This was way back in the days when scamming wasnt as prevelent as it is now. Back when Identity theft wasnt recognized as a serious crime. He still cant get a loan, an instore credit card, or any compassion from any financial institute. The person who did the scamming was found useing my fathers info, but he hightailed it out of state before the cops could get him.

Point of the story.......It can get bad so protect yourself. Ask questions. And most important of all....If it looks too good to be true, it prolly isnt.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I've never been scammed over the internet, but I've had my credit card stolen via a shady atm. Someone tried buying an $1800 Dell laptop with my credit card after a trip to New Orleans, and they were in Chicago. Thankfully my bank caught it right away, and changed my cc# for me.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Those emails...

You Have Been Invited By One Of Our Members "Terry WetWet" For A Discreet Sexual Encounter

I lol'd

Guest said:

your forgetting cold call scams from those pretending they are m$ support or affiliates and have you

give up remote control of your PC. so they can fix your computer

in the mean time they steal info from computer - install software on -thus compromising your system

however NO - I have not been scammed - don't fall for it ever

davislane1 davislane1 said:

@guest This has to be one of the most common types of scams friends of mine have run into. "Warning, your computer is infected!!" with a Windows UI mockup on some random website. Three weeks later they're buying a new computer because theirs was trashed by malware & adware.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

My brother - who in general is a relatively bright guy - printed off one of those "you have won the Irish lottery!" e-mails and took it to his attorney to see how he should handle his winnings. I found out about it 2-3 years after the fact from another brother because he was so embarrassed to admit he fell for it. He didn't lose any money, but just the fact that he ran to an attorney thinking he'd won millions from a spam e-mail was enough to shame him for life. :p

Nima304 said:

TomSEA said:

My brother - who in general is a relatively bright guy - printed off one of those "you have won the Irish lottery!" e-mails and took it to his attorney to see how he should handle his winnings. I found out about it 2-3 years after the fact from another brother because he was so embarrassed to admit he fell for it. He didn't lose any money, but just the fact that he ran to an attorney thinking he'd won millions from a spam e-mail was enough to shame him for life. :p

Lol.

Anyway, I've never fallen for any kind of scam, but my parents constantly install toolbars and all kinds of adware on their PCs. Most people that keep up-to-date with technology won't get scammed too easily.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

A couple of my friends got their email accounts hacked (although they got them back in the end), anyway, only damage was 'spam' emails claiming that both of these gentlemen were 'grave financial distress in some foreign country' and needed some 'money loaned' to them so they can at least reach homes. I suspect they must have visited some 'pron' sites before these hacking incidents

Mindwraith said:

One of my friends actually fell for the old trick "an estranged foreign relative died and left his estate to you, we just need some details to forward your inheritance onto you".

ramonsterns said:

Yes, I had a friend who got his steam account stolen and he started linking me to the phishing site. He never linked me crap out of nowhere so I knew something was up.

mosu said:

In my opinion, I haven't but it's not like they did not try!

Guest said:

my friends have iq more than 50 no scam till now :P

joking

but still no scam

treetops treetops said:

I have never fallen for a scam but my bros shared(with me) wow account got hacked, blizzard restored a lot of stuff but not everything. I believe thats because we tried out a bot. It was odd they took over after the game license ran out bought more time and used it to farm gold.

hitech0101 said:

knew a friend once who got ripped off for a dvd player.

Guest said:

I know some friends that were scamed,... one ordered a TV, the other a car and they both payed in advance. My dad constantly fills his desktop with toolbars and other crap. Once he had a piece of malware that told him that he has other malware on it and that he needs to pay for removal (and the software prevented using firefox or uninstalling), I basicly searched for a licence key for the malware and the problem was solved.

I think the biggest problem for none techy people is that most scam messages copy the design of windows messages pretty well - one can only tell by the mouse curser. So they click on the little x in the top corner, but dont know that it doesn't matter where you click and the next junk is installed.

Once I ordered a notebook in the US from a online shop in Page AZ, the PC didn't arrive for 6 weeks and I already felt riped off, however they sent me a cash check and aborted the credit card payment too,... so I got 1300$ for being 6 weeks without a PC - fair enough.

tonylukac said:

I get 5 to 10 "lottery winning" emails a day at my isp (att) email. I once opened a po box (which I needed anyway) and gave one of them that address when it first started. According to them, I won $1 million but had to send them a $300 "processing fee". I never did, but do get lots of emails like that to this day. I figured it was less risky than actual gambling. I little old lady in California I knew (she wasn't from Pasadena), her name was Kim, fell for such a scheme by mail. I think she sent them $500.

treetops treetops said:

"Greetings, friends. Do you wish to look as happy as me? Well, you've got the power inside you right now. So use it and send one dollar to Happy Dude, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield. Don't delay. Eternal happiness is just a dollar away."

'Happy Dude'

"Hello, this is Homer Simpson aka Happy Dude! The court has ordered me to call every person in town to apologize for my telemarketing scam. I'm sorry. If you can find it in your heart to forgive me, send one dollar to : Sorry Dude, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield. You have the power!

'Sorry Dude'

Guest said:

I am not sure this scam is related to the internet, but I can only imagine my grandparents fell for something that leaked their personal information. But it was back in 2009 when phone call scams about peoples children being hurt in Mexico while on vacation and then needed money to sent him to the USA for medical treatment.

Well, my grandparents received a phone call from someone pretending to be me and had basic info about me such as my name and age. But they called my grandparents saying that I was going to Niagara falls when a cop pulled me and some friends over and then found drugs on one of my friends. The person pretending to be me was begging and pleading for my grandparents not to tell my parents and swore up and down the drugs weren't mine and I needed them to send me $1000 for bail. So my grandparents tried for 3 days to get the money but did have it so they finally called my dad. At the time I had a blackberry storm on its last leg that couldn't receive phone calls and he couldn't get a hold of me. I went into work that after noon with emergency voices from my dad and bestfriends trying to locate me and find out if I was really in new York lol.

Scammers made a lot of noise for me but didn't get any money. I am now frequently getting emails label New York Police Department sending me photoradar tickets. Funny I've never been there...

Staff
Jos Jos said:

An acquaintance once told me about this site that was selling brand name laptops and other electronics at about half their retail price and kept going on that people were dumb to pay full retail. The site was highly recommended to him by a "friend", or so he claimed, then he showed me were he actually got the link: one of those spam messages that start with "Hey friend, check out these amazing deals! I bought a new MacBook for $400" or something along those lines.

It was so obvious it was a scam. I just adviced him not to buy anything from them, and to disregard any other 'offers' that arrive on his inbox from people he doesn't actually know.

Guest said:

I have cleaned up some computers that people installed fake anti-virus and such. I have had a 2 or 3 friends had their email taken over for a while. I have been called with phishing scams and have seen my share of email scams though I have never fallen for them. I did have someone make a charge on my credit card however the bank caught it before it became an issue. Looks like someone got the credit card info while I was on a vacation trip.

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