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(Blog preface: I promised you The Tales of a Stroke Patient and More blog so this is where “and More” comes into play).

I like to browse the Internet to see what’s new, now that I’m a “shut in” more than I used to be because of the pandemic. I could spend two hours on a slow day just looking around. But then I’m done for the day. But scammers, those people trying to get your personal information, live on the Internet. The scammers come up with all the ways to make you and your money part. After all, they are greedy and live out their motto: It’s never enough.

Those people who are the scammers’ victims aren’t stupid. They’re naive, babes in the woods so to speak, about how powerful the Internet is in conniving schemes that we call scams. The victims of the scams come in all ages and genders, but they usually target the over 50 crowd because they might not be so knowledgeable with the vast powers of the Internet.

In the era of the pandemic, scams have soared because many people only go out for essentials and are working (if they haven’t lost the job) from home.  

Here’s 5 scams that come to mind.

Online Dating Scams

Like most people who are caught in this giant net, most scammers are overseas, so prosecution gets to be an ugly and costly mess. Male scammers are often based in West Africa, while the female scammers are mostly from the eastern parts of Europe, research tells me.

A study recently said that people in America lost $143 million in 2018 paid by them for love that never happened. The scammers string people along, sometimes years, with broken promises that seemed real, of one sort or another. “My brother just died and I can’t meet you this month,” or “I have COVID-19,” giving an unsuspecting victim the idea that this is really not a good time.

This from England: “There are millions of singles online in the UK, seeking what we all look for: love, companionship and a long-term future. I met my gorgeous husband through online dating, and during the ten years I worked for Match.com, we successfully paired-up over 160 singles every day.” [Maybe she took that job because after “millions of singles,” she would come up–eventually–for the right mate for her.]

But this, too: “The losses can be huge—financially, and emotionally. The average scam victim loses £10,000, but the mental scars can last a lifetime. As “Nancy”, a 47-year-old single Mum from Yorkshire, who lost over £300,000 to an online-dating scam, told the BBC: ‘Somebody’s got inside your head, and they’ve just brutalised you emotionally. In some ways, I’m not sure I’ll ever recover’. Most online-dating scammers live and operate abroad, so they are hard to prosecute”. 

Look at the grammar. If it’s a scam from people “overseas,” non-native speaker of English, given that they’re not blown away by the person’s model-like looks, often use the language incorrectly with possible spelling mistakes, overuse of capital letters, and incorrect sentence order.

Online-dating scammers will charm the pants off of you (a rather crude pun, but it’s true). They’ll flatter you without knowing you and some people [is it you, for example?] get all hot and bothered about it, ready to take the plunge.

But here’s the thing! If they ask you for money, delete them forever from your Trash bin. 

Job Offer Scams

Posturing as recruiters, these scammers use fake though irresistible job opportunities to entice people.

It might begin with a text, an email, or a brazen phone call from someone claiming to be a recruiter from a well-known company like Google or Facebook who saw your resume and claiming they are interested in you for hire.  

Don’t fall into this trap because in the end, you’ll have to pay to get hired, and when you go to the job on your first day, you weren’t hired at all. Call a real recruiters and learn for yourself that the process doesn’t work this way. 

All recruiters have established a relationship with one big company or a ton of companies because if they find a person that’s suitable for hire, the recruiters get paid a commission. That’s how it works. The phony recruiter will probably ask you for money that will be automatically deducted from your account, and you might give it, but remember: The employers pay recruiters, not you. 

Travel Scams

Travel scams usually start with an email, offering you and fantastic stay in a fabulous, sometimes exotic, spot for typically 5 to 7 days. It might come with an expiration date that’s soon, so you would rush to make a decision. Scammers don’t want you to think about this ideal vacation too much because thinking too much brings about thoughts that it may be a scam! 

The problems with these scams are threefold: 

1. You might have to sit for a multi-day lecture about timeshares and deal with the pressure experienced salesmen put on you.
2. You might be paying for just the room when you’re told on arrival that you have to pay additionally for “extras.”
3. You might end up in a bad part of the city where you have overpaid for the room and where you won’t venture out at night.

Usually, you have to pay upfront or put down a hefty deposit that is non-refundable. You never know what life is going to throw your way so decline the offer. 

Tech Support Online Scams

According to a Washington Post, “Nearly half of all cellphone calls next year will come from scammers,” so we need to protect ourselves from vile actions.

Scammers use various social engineering techniques to fool likely victims into giving their personal information. Sometimes, they try to persuade victims into paying for protection that never comes.

These technical geniuses, if you have given them any information, throw around high-tech buzzwords that offers trust and confidence in the unsuspecting victim, so much so they can take over your computer and transfer money to their bank account if you give them your i.d. and password. 


Online Shopping or Auctions Scams

We are not talking about big name companies like Amazon, IKEA, or Wayfair from which I have purchased items with quality customer service departments.

I’m talking about a scammer who will set up a website just to steal money and sell a product, and offer you an inferior item in its place or, at times, nothing at all. They may also sell a product just to get your credit card or bank account details.

An online auction scam revolves around a scammer saying that you have a second chance to buy something on which you bid because the winner has changed his or her mind. The scammer will request for payment outside of the auction site’s tight payment location. If you give them your money, it will be lost and the actual auction site is not responsible.

From phrases.org re: too good to be true: 

“This cautious view is undoubtedly even older than its first expression in English, in the sixteenth century. Nevertheless, it has been repeated in the same form ever since, with only slight variations as Mark Twain’s, “It’s too good for true, honey, it’s too good for true” (Huckleberry Finn, 1884). 

So ask yourself, “Is the offer too good to be true?” first, and therein you’ll find the answer.

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman is one of the world's top 10 stroke bloggers according to the Medical News Today. You can find the original post and other blogs Joyce wrote in Tales of a Stroke Survivor. (https://talesofastrokesurvivor.blog)
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