5 Common Ways People Get Ripped Off On The Web

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Don Hankins

Approximately 1,802,330,457 people use the Internet every day. That’s a lot of people, and with that amount of traffic, there are bound to be a few “bad eggs” in the crowd.

So it’s no surprise that someone would try to scam others on the Internet. Whether it’s for their money of their identity, scams are so common that the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center states that more than $560 million have been lost to internet scams.

Below is a list of five of the most prevalent, not to mention successful, Internet scams. If you come across something you think is a scam, remember the adage: “If it seems to good to be true, then it probably is.”

Nigerian 419

The Nigerian 419 scam — if you’ve gotten an email stating that a wealthy Nigerian member of a family needs assistance getting a very large amount of money out of the country, you were probably a target of the Nigerian 419 scam. These emails ask for help getting money moved into the US and are a scam. Statistics show that over $32 billion has been lost to this particular scam alone.


When you place an online ad, for instance on Craigslist, sometimes a scammer will respond to the ad and show interest in the item you are selling. These are usually foreigners who promise to pay a higher price than you’ve asked, and after you ship the item, you’ll find that PayPal has taken the money out of your account due to the scammer saying they’ve not received the item.

Working from Home

Who wouldn’t want to work in their pajamas? That’s why the “work from home” scam is so successful for scammers. These scams promise you will make lots of money from just working on your home computer, but they won’t tell you what you’ll be doing until you pay for the information. They tell you you’ll receive the valuable information within 24 hours and “unlock” your “unlimited earning potential.” This is a scam to get your banking information and often times installing harmful software that will ruin your computer.

“Free” Trial

The best things in life are free, so who wouldn’t want free products? Beware of sites offering free trials, as they are anything but — the scam begins when you give your banking info for shipping costs, which the company then uses to charge a monthly fee if you don’t cancel your “free” trial. This is in the very fine print and most do not read the terms and conditions.

Disaster Relief

Disaster relief scammers are more and more prevalent these days with so many natural disasters happening across the world. Scammers have keyed into this and are profiting by asking you to make a donation using your debit or credit card, which then gives them access to your money. Then you’re out of money, scammers have your credit card information and you’ve not assisted in any sort of disaster relief. Be sure to research the organization you are donating to and make sure they are a reputable organization.

Ryan Carter is a web designer and guest author at Top Web Design Schools, a site with resources and information of help potential students evaluate web design schools and plan their education.