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I admit that at one point, I almost fell for one of these online scams. Luckily, I researched and stopped myself before these bloody scammers ripped me off.

Online scams are prevalent. They look totally legitimate as they promise great opportunities, profits and business growth. To most Internet users, these offers can be hard to verify and there are so many who fall victims.

What we must understand is that most of these online scammers prey on those who are looking for ways to augment their income, and to those who are not very familiar with technology.

I have written about online scams before and you know how angry I can get. I am so sick of these idiots out there in cyberspace.

I have a few tips below about some common traps to be aware off. Remember these and avoid getting yourself ripped off.

Phishing

Phishing via email is perhaps the most common scam. These are messages you receive online, designed to hack your identity and steal your personal data. It usually takes the form of an email from a financial institution or reputable companies like Microsoft, eBay, PayPal, Yahoo, even your Bank. To make the email more legitimate, the company logo is even included in the email. Sometimes, the email can also be sent from someone in your address book.

Phishing emails will ask you to click links and would direct you to a site where you have to supply your online and personal accounts, including passwords. When you see this kind of emails, NEVER click anything! Ignore, delete, or mark it as spam. Sometimes, just clicking the links would allow the scammer to have access to your personal email.

Stranded friend asking for money

Similar to phishing, you might receive an email from a friend, telling you that they are stuck in a foreign land with no money and no passport and in trouble, asking for a huge sum of money so they can buy a plane ticket to return home.

Before you wire them your hard-earned money, give your friend a call and verify if she is really stuck in another country. Most likely, your friend is relaxing at home and watching TV. Tell your friend that you received that email and maybe she should change her passwords or, better yet, close her email accounts.

Offers to do menial jobs

Mums who are looking for ways to augment their income may find offers for simple jobs like crafts assembly, data entry at home, typing from home, email processing. Stay Away from these. While these may appear legitimate, these scam websites will require you to pay a fee to receive kits or instruction manuals to start your own home-based business.

This is a red flag. Any job that requires you to pay is a no-no. I bet my life savings that you will not receive any kit or manuals. Instead, you will get marketing materials that encourage you to advertise their service in return for more benefits and rewards.

Multi-level marketing (MLM)

Don’t get me wrong. There are many multi-level marketing companies that achieved much success.  But don’t be easily fooled with pyramid offers. A problem with this system is that the emphasis is more on expanding the pyramid rather than pushing the product.

Plenty of online scams would offer you products for free. But the catch is that you need to grow your network and find new people to join the pyramid. If you are seriously considering this, look into the fine print before joining an MLM business online. You might just be wasting your time and money. Better yet, just go into a direct-selling business or open an online store.

Before you engage in anything, do your homework and research online. Search for feedback, Google the email address/company, and see what others have to say.

Remember that if an offer is too good to be true, it probably is.

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