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Prevent Online Fraud

Updated on May 2, 2016

As the old adage goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and so if someone writes you an email saying they want to offer you part of their millions dollar inheritance for a little help from you, then you have every reasons to be suspicious.

When such emails are sent out, you're asked to part with your bank account details for seemingly official purposes, and at times. some money may even be transferred into your account with a promise of more to follow. While this will put you at ease and thank your lucky stars for this good fortune, it will be a while before you realize that your bank account has been swept clean of all your savings. Popularly known as the Nigerian scam, it was quite widespread a few years ago, with victims including people from all walks of life.

Over the years. we have witnessed many such Internet scams, and for a while, it looked like the tide had subsided, but it has just reared its ugly head again in a newer form. Recently, there was uproar over Speak Asia, an online survey firm that promised high returns. When I initially saw the ads in leading print and electronic media, even I was intrigued. I visited their site to find out more and balked when I read that I was expected to invest Rs 11,000 when signing up, after which I would be paid Rs 1,000 for every two online surveys. And of course, I was encouraged to sigh up my friends so that I can earn an additional bonus. Being paid Rs 1,000 for participating in online surveys is unheard of, and it's even more bizarre that I was expected to invest in the firm that conducts the surveys. But apparently, thousands of people fell for the scam and now that the lid has been blown off the scam, they're crying foul.

It worked as multi-level marketing (MLM), which is a method of marketing, where you have to recruit people under you. Not only will you be compensated through the revenue generated by them, but also for the revenue generated by them, but also for the revenue generated by their recruits. So it's kind of a chain; the more people you recruit, the higher your profits. Sometimes, these companies have you sell products that are dubious in nature; gimmicks designed to make a quick buck. You have to play a certain amount to enter the chain and then you are reimbursed as the chain grows. It's more likely money being transferred from one pocket to another. It's best not to fall for these scams, as you may end up burning your fingers in the long run.

Before investing money, it's always advisable to do some research about the company and its track record. You will often find people airing their experiences at online forums. These can be positive or negative. Read them carefully and then decide if you are willing to take the risk.


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