Today’s post comes from Trisha at She writes about the all too important topic of scammers and how they do what they do. Check her out on Twitter @thatdangvegan.

Although scamming has undoubtedly been around for hundreds of years, the internet has provided a substantial aid in the effectiveness of fraudulent activity. People around the world are being scammed for billions of dollars each year. Scammers keep getting away with this type of behavior simply because they are good at what they do. Frauds know how to invent new scams, find vulnerable targets, and make their scams as convincing as possible.

Scammers Are Creative

Truly dedicated scammers change their name, email, and even IP address regularly in order to remain untraceable by the police for a short time. Many fraudsters are working many scams at once in order to seem legit to the authorities and the people they are scamming.

Not only are their stories always changing, but scammers are constantly finding new ways to hide their fraudulently earned cash – namely offshore bank accounts. Once their scam funds are collected, many frauds will store their cash in a bank account from another country. If the scam takes place in the US and the funds are deposited into an account in the US, it’s quite likely that the check or account transfer can be traced by the police. Unlike money stashed in a US account, offshore funds are very hard to trace.

Many countries are working together in order to raise awareness of offshore scamming accounts. Until recently, it has been quite easy to open accounts in many countries around the world. Banks are now being trained to recognize fraud accounts in order to report them to the authorities and stop additional accounts from being opened.

In addition, recent years have revealed the seriousness of information security online. As a result, many company websites are majorly stepping up their online security to protect their customer’s information. One related study showed that in 2012 42% of businesses surveyed said their business strategy included an online security plan as opposed to 18% in 2008.

They Hit Victims Where It Hurts

Frauds know where folks are the most vulnerable. It’s much easier to take advantage of people who are desperate or scared. The elderly population and retirement hopefuls are losing millions each year to scamming, which is why it is imperative to teach seniors how to appropriately interact with technology. Scam artists are coming up with some pretty intricate and persuasive investment possibilities that boast an outrageous turnover within just a few years. Those who are falling behind on their 401 (k) or IRA deposits might just get suckered into such an enticing trap.

In 2013 alone, at least 10% of all financial losses reported were due to romance scams. With the growing popularity of online dating and dating apps, more people are being taken advantage of than ever. Fraudsters will seek out profiles that seem to represent an expensive lifestyle. They will then start a conversation and eventually a relationship with the victim. After some time the scammer will say they are in trouble and they need “x” amount of money for one reason or another.

The Ones who Keep Scamming Are Smart

Reportedly, the scammers who keep making the big bucks are ones who have honed their craft. Of course, the scam has to be as believable as possible in order to make people believe it. Thus, individuals are receiving scam emails and calls that are more convincing than ever. Scammers will template big name organization logos and emails in order to come across as professional as possible. Even the IRS and similar organizations are falling victim to these traps. So, it is not only unheard of organizations that appear to be taking advantage of people.

Many scammers sincerely seem legitimate due to the honorable business’s name they are stealing. No matter what the situation it is always a safe bet to ask for credentials before giving away any amount of information. Scammers are not only directly attacking people’s money, but they are also stealing identities. Any legit person should be able to quickly and clearly identify themselves, the company they work for, and the reason they need such information without hesitation. If you have been scammed or think you may have been scammed please report any information available to the police. Although scammers are tricky, they are still humans who will eventually make a mistake and be caught. Any piece of information at hand could potentially lead to ending their scam.

Have you encountered any incidents of scammers in your life or the life of someone you know?

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