[written by SAMANTHA CHEN]
Online scams are in every dark corner of the Internet, and the only thing more outrageous than the stories they cook up is the number of people who fall for them. So in case you happen to be one of them (which you really shouldn’t be), we present you a (heavily abridged) Dummies’ Guide to Online Scams.
- I WAS ROBBED OVERSEAS PLZ HELP
Scenario: Your casual acquaintance emails you one day and regales you with a sob story of how he/she went on a grand trip overseas but was “relieved” of her passport, money and personal belongings.
Problem: You barely speak to this person and for some reason, he cannot call his/her mother, father, sister, brother or best friend.
Suggested course of action: Think: “What the insert-expletive-here.” Then notify the guy/girl. If you care.
- RICH NIGERIAN PRINCE/BILLIONAIRE WIDOW
Scenario: “I am very rich (because someone died) and I need to get my money out of the country/retrieve my money from lawyer, firm, insurance company, so I need your help! I will give you a few million for your trouble”
Problem: Why is some complete stranger from a really foreign country emailing you for help? You, a
nobody as-of-yet un-famous person. On top of that, this kazillionaire can’t seem to loan a few thousand bucks from someone so they need you, aforementioned not-yet-famous person to pour your life savings because you’re that gullible nice and you’re going to be paid back with millions!
Suggested course of action: Reply that you’re also a prince/rich widow or that you’re broke and will their lawyer accept the vegetables you’re growing in your backyard.
- PLZ UPDATE UR DETAILS
Scenario: A bank/game is emailing you telling you to please, for goodness’ sakes, update your account details. Or that there has been an attempt to access your account so please log in via the provided link to amend this security breach.
Problem: You probably don’t have an account with that bank/game. Hell, that bank may not even be available in your country. Oh, and banks/games have been telling us for years not to respond to these emails, and to do the bare minimum of making sure the site you’re on is the real deal. So you may want to reconsider before you give away the keys to your bank account.