Thursday, October 9, 2008

Internet scams proliferate as economy turns

I have been noticing a marked increase in outright scams, in a variety of spaces, and increasing in frequency in recent weeks on the web.

It's pretty obvious that the 'bad guys' are trying to hit as many people as possible while 'they're down'.

While many in the tech arena recognize quite a few of these, I thought it was a good time to re-hash the subject in the event you want to mention it to a relative or a casual web user you might know.  I was literally watching someone this morning (who's very intelligent) almost fall for one of these.  Some of them look pretty good.

Of course, e-mail is still No. 1 for spammers, and there are still a lot of people receiving these e-mails from friends who think they are legit, bypassing spam filters.

There are quasi-scams as well. Those that pass the test of legit business but ride the line of 'ethics', or even misrepresentation.  I've see a slew of these hit the employment and career sites (with the possible exception of LinkedIn ... at least, so far).  Other spaces are being hit as well.

Some obvious stuff.

The Internet really makes it easy to do the research before you waste money and / or your valuable time.  Do the homework. Your social security number is no. 1 - Just don't do it.  There are few, if any, legit organizations that will ask anyone for a social security number.  Confirm who it is. is still very much around if you want to double check an e-mail you received.

Potentially hardest hit are the legitimate charities.  Search them.  Find their website and research before you part with a dime.

The improvements in search can help you to identify a lot of these so-called legitimate offers.

The audience that this blog reaches is probably not 'the target audience' for this piece, but it never hurts.

The old adage ... "If it looks too good ... It probably is".