Given the convenience and anonymity brought about by the internet, more scammers have been trying to trick people into giving them money through different means. One way is through advanced fee scams, where they ask you to pay upfront for a product, service, or job. Then, they suddenly disappear after getting what they want.
To keep yourself from being a victim of these tricksters, we’ll discuss what advanced fee scams are, the different types of advanced fee scams, and the ways to avoid them. Check out the article below to help prevent pouring your money down the drain!
What Are Advanced Fee Scams?
As the name suggests, advanced fee scams include asking victims to pay money in advance to get goods, services, a lottery prize, or employment. It is also known as 419 scams, taken from the Nigerian Criminal Code section. The scam is prevalent in Nigeria, where scammers ask you to transfer a huge sum of money, saying that you will get a commission for doing so. Common reasons include taxes or their government’s restrictions.
While the scam is popular in Nigeria, it can occur in any part of the world. Scammers may call the upfront payments a handling fee, membership fee, or participation fee, but they all have one goal — to drain your bank account.
Types of Advanced Fee Scams
Advanced fee scams may sound self-explanatory, but they come in different forms. So, beware of the following types of advanced fee scams to easily spot them if you encounter one:
Work From Home Scams
A common type of advanced fee scam involves fake work-from-home opportunities. Scammers will offer you a job that pays thousands of dollars for a little amount of work. However, they will request you to pay in advance, so they can send you the goods. Others will let you pay for a training session, which is obviously a scam because legitimate employers wouldn’t ask for money from you — they’re the ones who will pay you.
Some scammers will contact you and say that a family member died and they inherited a large sum of money. Claiming to be a foreign lawyer, they will say that they need to act fast, or else the money will be acquired by the government. They will then ask for money to handle legal or admin fees. However, if you’re tricked into sending the amount, you will never hear from them again.
Online Dating Scams
One of the most popular types of advanced fee scams is romance scams. They talk to you on an online dating app and then try to establish an online romantic relationship with you. You think they’re genuinely in love with you, and you start trusting them. Then, they will find ways to ask for money. For example, they will say they need money to process their Visa application or to purchase a plane ticket and finally meet you.
Some scammers will randomly send you an email, telling you that you have won a big lottery prize. However, they will ask for your personal information and bank account details to verify your identity and let you claim your winnings. They will also ask for up-front payment for various reasons, such as taxes and banking fees. Once they get the money, you can no longer contact them and retrieve your money.
How To Avoid Advanced Fee Scams
- Ignore unsolicited text messages or emails that inform you about massive lottery prizes.
- Do not share any of your financial or personal information to avoid identity theft.
- Do not accept work-from-home jobs that require up-front payments. You’re supposed to earn, not lose money.
- Initiate video calls with someone you meet on a dating app. Trusting them easily will only cause you more harm.
- Do not transfer any amount from your bank account. Be suspicious of someone urging you to perform a wire transfer or use gift cards. These payment methods are popular among scammers because you can hardly ever recover your money once sent.
- Always do your research. This includes checking the company you’re applying for on Better Business Bureau (BBB) and reading online reviews for possible complaints.
- Review the contract or terms and conditions before signing anything. Ask professionals for verification, especially for parts that are hard to understand.
- Do not get swayed with enticing offers. There’s no easy way to get rich, and no one will give you tons of money for a minimal amount of work.
- Report any scam that you have been a part of to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Advanced Fee Scams: Stay Cautious With Social Catfish
Advanced fee scams may come in the form of online dating scams, inheritance scams, lottery, and work from home scams. While tactics seem endless and varied, you can combat them by following the tips we have listed above. Stay cautious and visit Social Catfish to complete a reverse search and verify a suspicious person’s identity.