Internet Scams and Fraud
Internet scams and fraud are a serious threat to the safety of online users. Most of these scams are usually committed through email, but some may attempt to contact users directly via private chats. Internet scammers create false identities or impersonate legitimate people or companies often times using fake profile photos to perpetuate their fraudulent behavior.
Internet scammers seek to:
- Steal your money
- Steal your identity
Common internet scams include:
- Advanced fee/loan fraud scams: loan scammers offer to advance money at seemingly low interest rates for a small advanced fee. Scammers either ask for more money upfront or disappear altogether.
- Bitcoin or cryptocurrency/investment fraud: investment scammers offer opportunities to invest in this new form of currency that turn out to be fraudulent or counterfeit. Scammers also promise large investment returns in exchange for a small upfront payment only to disappear after receiving your money.
- Digital kidnapping/blackmail scams: blackmail scammers threaten to harass, embarrass, or injure you or a family member unless money is sent to them.
- Dating and romance scams: romance scammers send messages to strangers seeking to develop an online relationship often times pretending to be widowed, divorced, stranded, or in some perilous situation. These scammers seek to gain your trust and affection then ask for money for visas, travel costs, or other similar ventures to remove themselves from their dire circumstances. Please be wary of strangers contacting you online sharing such personal information.
- Employment scams: employment scammers send fake job postings and job applications to you seeking your personal information including your social security number. Please only respond to reputable online employment recruiters.
Typical scam messages include:
- Offers that seem too good to be true
- Messages containing spelling or grammatical errors
- Messages seeking personal or financial information
- Messages invoking sympathy or tragedy to get money
Types of other internet fraud include:
- Phishing: scammers using fake email, text messages, or copycat websites to steal your identity or personal information;
- Smishing (SMS text phishing): scammers using SMS text messages pretending to be a legitimate person or company to steal your personal information;
- Vishing (Voice phishing): scammers using a telephone call pretending to be a legitimate person or company to steal your personal information.
See Something, Say Something
If you believe you have been the victim of an internet scam or fraud, please gather as much information as possible and report it to your local law enforcement.
For more information about internet scams and fraud, please visit fbi.gov.
If you have concerns about a possible internet scam or fraud sent to you on The Pattern, please block the user and contact our customer support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.