Money for nothing scams


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'Money for nothing' scams

A couple look through photos from their last family gathering with the help of their tablet

What's coming up

Many scams try to trick you into paying money for nothing. In this activity, we'll describe some of those scams and how to avoid them.

The scams you'll learn about include investment schemes, dating and romance scams, charity scams, and virus and hacking scams.

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How to avoid 'money for nothing' scams

Money for nothing scams take many forms, but their main purpose is to get you to give money to someone you don't know for something you don't fully understand. If you hand over any money, you will receive nothing in return.

The key to avoiding them is to be careful about who you exchange money with online. If someone you've never had dealings with before emails you asking for money for anything, that should be a warning sign that something is wrong.

Let's look at the most common money for nothing scams, so you know how to spot them.

Illustration of different types of money
Visual stamp that says '100% risk free'

Investment schemes

In this type of scam, you receive an email offering the opportunity to join a major investment opportunity at a heavily discounted rate.

You will be pressured to make a decision quickly. (They don't want to give you time to think!)

If someone you don't know contacts you with a get rich quick scheme, there's a high chance the whole thing is a scam.

Do not hand over any money and delete the email.

Dating and romance scams

Online dating is a popular pastime on the internet, but you may come into contact with someone who is not who they claim to be.

That person might spend months developing a relationship over email, then try to trick you into paying for things like (fake) emergency medical expenses.

Don't be tricked by their hard luck stories, the people behind this sort of scam are very convincing and want to take advantage of your kind nature.

Icon of a broken heart
Donate now

Charity scams

These scams sometimes happen after disasters, pretending to gather money for the victims but really keeping it for themselves.

If you get an email message asking for money for a charity, ignore it. Do not make a donation.

An example of an email saying that your computer has a virus

Viruses and hacking scams

With this scam, you receive an email or phone call saying that a problem has been found on your computer, but the person contacting you can help. You just have to pay them money and they will fix the computer for you.

What's really happening?

Your computer doesn't have a problem, and you don't need anything fixed. It's actually not possible for a caller or someone on the internet to discover a problem with your computer.

What do you do?

If someone you've never met or heard of contacts you and says that a problem has been detected on your computer, you should delete the email or hang up on them.

Delete button

Reporting and deleting scam emails

Let’s look at how to report and delete scam emails.

On the next slide is a practice that includes some steps to try yourself. Select the Continue button below to begin and then follow the instructions on the right side of the screen.

Reporting and deleting scam emails

Reporting and deleting scam emails

This is an interactive activity that allows learners to practise reporting and deleting scam emails. This activity has no sound track and is made up of a number of images and text instructions, with opportunities for the user to enter text or click on links as part of the exercise to report and delete scam emails.

This is to encourage confidence using the internet by practising a simple exercise in a simulated environment.

If a mistake is made during this exercise, there will be a prompt to ask you to try it again. If another mistake is made, the video will show you how to complete that section of the exercise.

Man and daughter enjoy some leisure time with the help of their tablet


Well done. Now that you've completed the activity on Money for nothing scams, you'll see that internet scams aren't much different to real-life scams that have been around for decades. With care, caution and commonsense, you can avoid being caught up in one.

If you have registered and logged into this website, you'll now be able to take a short quiz to finish the course.