The Top 10 Internet Scams for 2009

“Rising unemployment and a global recession mean we expect to see a huge increase in e- victims this year” says Jennifer Perry, managing director of – a not-for-profit organisation helping victims of e-crime and other online incidents.

E-Victims.Org makes their predictions for the top 10 Internet Scams in 2009. “E-crime is growing alarmingly fast. New scams appear almost daily. We’ve seen honest traders go rogue due to financial pressures and we’ve seen desperate consumers taking more risks.  


10. Social Networking – A hot scam is sending messages that tell someone they are in a You Tube video or mentioned on Twitter. When they follow the link their computer gets compromised. Dating scams, hacked accounts, conmen that contact friends and family claiming they are in trouble and need money – these are some of the most popular scams we see with social networks.


9. Ticket Scams – We saw large scale ticket fraud with the Beijing Olympics. Criminals are producing counterfeit tickets for concerts, festivals, football games and other events. They sell them online via auction sites, classified ads or by setting up their own website.


8. Holiday Scams – Can’t afford a great holiday this year? Well the scammers know the credit crunch has hit the holiday budget. So, they are advertising some incredible deals. Unfortunately, the deals aren’t real.


7. Classified ads and auction scams – Scammers use local online classified ads, CraigsList etc. to find new victims. Then they contact sellers with fraud cheque scams, offering to buy something or rent a room. They send a cheque for more money than agreed, with an excuse as why you should send the extra money back to them or their friend.  The cheque is a fake and they hope you wire the money before you find out.


6. Economy related scams – Loan and debt consolidation scams have been increasing throughout 2008. There will be new ones look out for, including repossession assistance and unemployment insurance.


5. Fake or spoofed websites – Phishing, domain hi-jacking, posting in forums are just some of the ways criminals attract you to their fake sites. These bogus online retailers offer a great deal, or impossible to find items, to attract victims. They set up a site for a short time, then shut it down only to set up a new site and do it all over again.


4. Work at home and job scams – These scams have been around for years, but rising unemployment will mean that we expect more scams targeting vulnerable job seekers.


3. Advance fee scams – Nigerian and lottery scams have also been around for years, but they still work. There maybe a hundred variations to these scams but they are all basically the same. They offer a large sum of money, but there is always a fee to pay before you get it.


2. Viruses and spyware – They are everywhere. It is impossible to know if you are visiting an infected website. If you download a pdf,  it may or may not be infected. If you view a YouTube video, watch a flash ad, they may infect your computer too.


1. Identity theft and phishing – The black market for financial data on individuals is well established. Criminals try to steal your personal data using different techniques; phishing, social networks, telesales, hacking into websites, setting up bogus websites etc. Don’t share unnecessary personal data with websites. If they insist on your date of birth, post code etc. – don’t use your real ones.