Fraudsters or yahoo boys have a number of common online scams that they employ in defrauding unsuspecting victims. Swindlers may be following your every tweet and post, looking for a chance to fleece you and here’s how to prevent scammers from succeeding with these common online scams.

Free trial offer!
You see an Internet offer for a free one-month trial of some amazing product but all you need do to get access is to pay a shipping and handling fee.

The truth is these scammers know that most people don’t read all the fine print before clicking on ‘I agree,’ and even people who glance at it just look for numbers. So the companies spell out the numbers, with no dollar signs; anything that has to do with money or a time frame gets washed into the text.

To avoid falling victim, read the fine print on offers, and don’t believe every testimonial. You can also use TinEye.com, a search engine that scours the Web for identical photos. More so, reputable companies will allow you to cancel, but if you can’t get out of a “contract,” cancel your card immediately, then negotiate a refund.

Text Message To Update Your BVN
If you get a text message on your cell phone from your bank or debit card issuer: There’s been a problem with your bank verification number (BVN), and you need to call right away with some account information. The truth is your supposed “bank” is a scammer hoping you will reveal your account information.

The act is simply “smishing,” which stands for “SMS phishing,” the new, text-message version of the lucrative e-mail scam. In this ploy, scammers take advantage of the smart-phone revolution—hoping that a text message to your cell will make it less likely you will investigate the source, as you might do while sitting at your desk.

Since many banks and businesses offer text-message notifications, the scam has the air of legitimacy.

Real banks and stores might send you notices via text message, but they never ask for account information. If you’re unsure, call your bank directly. You can also try the Better Business Bureau, or Google the phone number to see if any scam reports turn up.

Charity Scams
You get an e-mail with an image of a malnourished orphan—from Haiti or another developing nation. The message reads “Please give what you can today,” followed by a request for cash.

To speed relief efforts, the e-mail recommends you send a Western Union wire transfer as well as detailed personal information, including your address and your Social Security and checking account numbers.

The charity is a scam designed to harvest your cash and banking information. Nothing goes to helping disaster victims. These scammers watch the headlines very closely, and they quickly set up websites and PayPal accounts to take advantage of people’s kindness and sympathy.

To avoid falling victims of these scammers, donate to real charities on their own websites. Find the sites yourself instead of clicking on links in e-mail solicitations.

Genuine aid organizations will accept donations by credit cards or checks; they won’t ask for wire transfers, bank account information, or Social Security numbers.

The Love Scam
This is perhaps the cruelest of scams. You meet someone on a dating site, on Facebook, in a chat room, or while playing a virtual game. You exchange pictures, talk on the phone. It soon becomes obvious that you were meant for each other.

But the love of your life lives in a foreign country and needs money to get away from a cruel father or to get medical care or to buy a plane ticket so you can finally be together.

This is pretty much scammers at work. You will lose your money and possibly your faith in humankind. Online social networking has opened up bold new avenues for heartless scammers who specialize in luring lonely people into bogus friendships and love affairs, only to steal their money.

It is almost impossible to be too paranoid over the Internet. Dating and social-networking sites can be a great way to meet new friends, even from foreign countries. If someone you know only from the Web asks for money, you should consider signing off quickly.

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