Semalt: The Art Of Online Scam

Scammers troll the internet looking for vulnerable victims to attack. They then spend much time trying to gain the trust of the victim by building relationships. The people behind this are brilliant and deceptive. They end up creating false situations and end up asking for money for aid.

Max Bell, the Semalt Customer Success Manager, tells that there are certain signs that one needs to be on the lookout for before sending any funds to these newly found online "friends." They include:

  • The only acquaintance made is through online means. Sometimes, a victim may believe they got married to the scammer.
  • If the scammer provides photographs of a beautiful person or they depict that a professional modeling agency took them, the respondent is most likely a spammer. One should verify all passports or visa to discern digital image facsimiles.
  • The scammer happens to have had some tragedies or terrible luck recently.
  • They receive money for plane tickets or visas, but they never seem to make it to their destinations and always have an excuse for the failure.
  • Anyone asking for a Basic Travel Allowance (BTA). They do not exist, and the U.S law does not require it.
  • A scammer using poor grammar and spelling, but claims that they are of American descent. These are signs of a non-native speaker.
  • Scammers may sometimes claim to be in one country, yet they ask to have money sent to a bank in another country.
  • Some pretend to be at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate trying to help a relative or a close friend of the victim detained there. The Embassy or consulates do not detain people.

Internet Scammers now use social media sites to obtain the login details and change the victims profile to make it appear as if they are in trouble. They then make contact with the friend's list and ask them to send money to help. Always be aware of anyone soliciting funds through online. If a friend is in trouble, make sure to verify their status by contacting them directly. Furthermore, one needs to have unique passwords and login details for their online identities to prevent fraud activity.

Adoption Scams continue to increase with culprits claiming to either be poor parents unable to take care of their children, or members of the clergy in search of a good home for a child from an orphanage. People should refrain from falling victim or make travels abroad to adopt children that they have only learned about online. Also, these scams have recently added a twist to them. Once a person terminates communication with these individuals, they send an email claiming to be from a certain police agency and have the means to recover any money spent. Often, they ask for a "refundable" fee.

One thing common to all these scams is that they all involve money requests. The scammers claim that the money needed is to help obtain something that the victim values, or to help a needy person. All in all, the fact that they ask money is the ultimate indicator of the possibility of a scam. It is imperative that online users remain skeptical about sending money unless one ascertains its legitimacy.

If one believes they are victims of a scam, they should:

  • Not send money as it is impossible to recover it
  • End all communication, and report to the police if threatened
  • Report the matter to The Internet Crime Complaint Center
  • Notify the administrators of the website.