The Biggest Internet Frauds of 2016- Be Wary!

With the growth of the internet, almost every business is initiating its first contact with clients online. The web has opened an avenue where everybody can be a seller and anybody can be a buyer. Even for businesses with a physical location, most customers today prefer to have their first interaction online before deciding to walk to the store.

While the internet has come with a lot of opportunities, it has also paved ways for fraudsters to deep their ugly hands into your financial pockets. Today, most of the biggest and harrowing frauds are happening online. A study by Gartner Research shows that at least 70% of frauds have a web origin.

To help you stay on the lookout, we have compiled a list of the top five common and popular frauds to avoid in 2016 and beyond.

Full throttle car wrap advertising scam

Imagine receiving an email from a “reputable” energy drinks company offering to pay you a whopping $400 per week to have their advertising bumper stickers on your car. The email appears to be very formal and company agents are even willing to communicate with you through the phone.

Within a few days of interaction, you receive the first check with instructions to deduct your $400, and wire transfer the remaining amount to the graphic artist who will be installing the wraps on your car. Won’t you be smiling all the way to the bank, ready to cash in your check and enjoy the fruits of no labor?

I bet you would; that is what the victims of these fraudsters have been doing. You will deposit the check as required and even wire transfer the “extra” money to the purported graphic artist. A few days later you receive a call from the bank asking you to pay the bounced check fees for the check you cashed in was counterfeit, and therefore can’t be processed.

To top it all, the money that you wire-transferred to the graphic artist is gone, never to be traced. You have joined the long list of unsuspecting individuals who have fallen into the hands of fraudsters while trying to supplement their income.

Some of the brand names mostly used by these scammers include the full throttle and Rockstar Energy drinks.

The Craigslist overpayment scam

If you have been selling things on Craigslist, you will agree with me that this platform is the home to most informal business negotiations on the internet. While most people have been able to strike amazing deals on the site, there are those who have fallen into the hands of fraudsters.

The fraud begins when the buyer sends you a check that is much more than the price of the product you sold to them. Once you receive the check, they will contact you claiming to have made a mistake and ask you to wire the extra money back to them.

Like a good soldier of Christ, you will wire the overpaid amount as requested only to be contacted by the bank that your check didn’t go through because it was counterfeit. At this point, the buyer is untraceable and the bank is on your shoulders demanding that you pay the bounced check fees.

Recurring Billing Scam

bedroom guardian scamSome product makers convince buyers to hand over their credit card to purchase their product, then put in the fine print that they will continue to be charged and auto shipped new product every month. It can take several months before you realize you are still being charged.

Often times the product is not worth buying once, much less twice and so on. One such example is the Bedroom Guardian Scam. They are a bed bug company headed by someone living in Hong Kong, marketed online by someone who has admitted to inverting his company and legally moving it overseas to avoid paying US taxes, and have multiple negative remarks with the Better Business Bureau.

Bedroom Guardian continues to charge you for a tiny amount of product until you call their Phillipines based call center and cancel, which can take hours. Some people have gone months before being able to cancel and it continues to be a potential threat to your monthly income and credit rating.

The Online Escrow Service Scam

As a buyer on craigslist, you contact a seller regarding an expensive item such as a car or a boat that is selling at a considerable price. You negotiate with the seller and settle on a price that is very favorable to you. For the protection of both of you, the seller requests you open an escrow account with a specific provider.

You have never heard of this provider but as the seller puts it, they are the best in the market right now. With the excitement of getting the best deal ever, you open the escrow account with the seller’s suggested provider and deposit the funds.

Once the funds hit the account, the provider ceases to exist and the seller disappears. You have fallen into the trap of fraudulent seller with fake escrow services. To avoid this scam, always ensure that you use a well-known escrow services provider.

Weight-loss products scams

With most of us struggling with weight loss issues, the scammers are taking advantage and selling us fake products with a promise that we will see the results in a few days. Some of these scammers have gone a little bit far by introducing poisonous products that have ended killing consumers.

For instance, a diet pill known as DNP, which is said to increase the body’s speed to burn off fat, have been found to be highly toxic when ingested in large amounts. The pill contains Dinitrophenol, a lethal substance used as a pesticide. Most of these fake weight-loss products are sold online by unlicensed dealers.

In the recent past, weight-loss products from companies such as HCG Diet direct, LeanSpa, Sensa products, and L’occitane have been identified as fake and banned by the Federal Trade Commission. While the crackdown is still on, there are still other fake products selling online. To avoid these scams, always ensure that you do proper research on a product before purchase.

The premium bottled water scam

Forget about big items such as cars and boats, if you are not careful, you might find yourself spending $50 or more on a bottle of water. While water is a legally saleable commodity, there is no reason to inflate its value and sell it at ridiculous prices.

What these companies do to get you on the hook is to present the water in a poetic language with lies that water is not just water. Some of these bottled water company will even tell you that their water structure has been altered and hence has the capabilities to help you maintain good health, youth, and vigor.

If you happen to stumble on one of these online bottled premium water companies, always remember that water is just water and you do not have to pay a fortune for it.

With the increasing rate of fraud in 2016, it is time to be on the lookout for the above frauds and many others.

Four common online sales scam you should be wary of

Scams in buying car onlineIf you have been shopping online, you must be familiar with the infamous automatic billing strategy. With the many horrifying stories of people who have had their saving accounts cleaned by an erratic automatic billing, consumers have become very wary of this system. Today, very few people are willingly allowing an unknown seller to make automatic charges on their accounts.

Even as consumers continue to gain awareness of the dangers of erratic recurring billing, the scammers have upped their game to include other sophisticated methods. Below are some of the online sales scams that you should be wary. 

Selling a photograph instead of the real item.

In this sales scam, the seller lists a high demand item on a site such as eBay at a ridiculously low price. An unsuspecting buyer then bids for the item, and once the payments have been completed, the seller posts a printed photograph of the item claiming that it was what the listing was all about. 

To avoid this type of sales scam, ensure that you have read the listing thoroughly before making a purchase. Also, if there is no explanation as to why the item is selling at a very low price, you have a reason to be suspicious.

Payments from a fake PayPal accounts.

If you are selling an item online, you must be careful of falling into the fake PayPal account trap. In this type of scam, the seller receives a PayPal confirmation email that the buyer has paid, only to realize after sending the goods that email was a fake, and no money was deposited in the account.

To avoid this type of sales scam, ensure that you check your PayPal account balance before sending the goods. Avoid clicking the links in the email for they might lead you to a fake PayPal account. If you are selling on eBay, be suspicious if you receive the PayPal email before the eBay sale notification.

A fake copycat listing.

Another way online scammers are stealing from buyers is through copycat listings. In this form of fraud, the scammer duplicates a real listing on sites such as Craiglist or eBay and poses as a real seller. Once a buyer is identified, the seller lures them to making a deal outside the listing site. The buyer makes payments only to realize that they were not dealing with the real seller, and they have been conned.

Unfortunately, for those who are wondering whether this product works or it’s just another internet “scam”, Bed Defense presents no link to any specific clinical studies. This means you to find the effectiveness of these products; you would have to research on your own.

This type of scam can be avoided by making payments on delivery. Also, ensure that you double check the sellers profile and ask them for more details and pictures of the item for sale.

The phone call collection.

In this type of online scam, an item for sale is listed with a shipping option. A buyer calls the seller and suggests that since he is in the area, he would rather collect it in person. The unsuspicious seller agrees, and the item is collected after the payments have been made through PayPal.

Days later, the buyer contacts PayPal requesting for a refund with a claim that the item was never shipped. Given that there is no evidence of shipping, PayPal assumes that the item was never delivered, and the reverse transaction is done. The seller cannot claim anything since they have no evidence of delivering the item.

To avoid this type of scam, stick to the shipping plan and ensure that you have evidence that the item has been delivered to the buyer.