Money for nothing scams


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Money for nothing scams

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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
A bold stamp that says '100% risk free' next to a warning sign

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.

A graphic of a scammer pretenting to be a romantic interest hoping to trick a FaceBook contact
A graphic of a donate now button on a scam email

Charity scams

These scams sometimes happen after natural disasters. Scammers pretend to gather money for the victims, but really keep it for themselves.

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

If you do want to make a donation, go directly to the website of a well-known charity, where you will be able to donate safely.

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.

Don't be worried by this type of call or email - hang up or delete the email immediately. 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 can you do?

For most scam emails or phone calls, the best thing to do is delete the email or hang up on the caller. For emails, there is usually a button with Trash or a rubbish bin icon on it, and you can hit that button to delete the offending email. But this won't stop the same scammers sending another email at a later date.

Most email software companies also allow you to report suspected scam emails to them. This helps them identify suspicious email activity on their systems and can help reduce the number of scam emails sent day-to-day. You may still receive scam emails in the future, but each report of a suspected scam email will help the email company weed out nuisance or scam emailers.

The Delete button with a cursor hovering over it, ready to click.

Reporting and deleting scam emails

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

On the next slide is a short animated video showing you how to report and delete a suspected scam email. While your own email account might look a little different to the one shown on the video, most email accounts have similar steps, so you should still be able to follow along.

To watch the video, select the Continue button below to open the next panel, then press play on the video.

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eSafety tip

Did you know you can also block callers on your mobile phone? If you are being annoyed by scam or nuisance callers, we have great courses that show you how to block them, step-by-step.

Find out more for your type of phone at:

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You've completed the activity on Money for nothing scams, and you'll now know 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.

Next up, if you have registered and are logged into the Be Connected website, you’ll now be able to take a short quiz to finish the Avoiding scams and tricks course. If you’re not registered, you are now at the end of the course.