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What Are The Worst Scams of 2012 and 2013?

Updated on September 14, 2013


As long as people have been doing business and exchanging goods, scams have prevailed. There are many people out there who are trying to steal your personal information or worse, your money.

With today's digital world it has become increasingly easier for scammers to target their victims. Find out what the worst scams of 2012 were and how to avoid becoming a victim. Education is the key to avoiding falling prey to these scams.

Don't Get Scammed!

Are You Being Scammed?
Are You Being Scammed? | Source

The Newest Scams: Social Networks and Media

No sharing and social media site is free from online scams. Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube rank high as a platform for online scammers to set up camp. Many people are on the social networks but may not understand the security settings and can become vulnerable to taking the bait.

What to watch out for:

  • Item giveaways and "free" products
  • "You Won a Free Vacation, Cruise, etc."
  • Enter your email for a chance to win...
  • Enter your credit card data: you won't be charged; this is how we verify your age...

If a deal sounds too good to be true it probably is! By clicking on malicious links you can be taken to fake sites and or malware can be downloaded to your computer that allows the scammer to access your private information.

Charitable Donations

"See, our dog Jake got injured and we have a vet bill that is over $5,000 and we need help to pay it because I was recently laid off from my job...can you donate $5..."

Have you read something that was similar to this? If so, 9 out of 10 chances are that it was a scam. This is often done online and in some cases, people may come up to you on the street with a story of why they need your help. Almost always these are scams! Scammers are con artists that are great at getting you to feel bad for them at an emotional level. They use psychological tactics to make you feel like you should help them. They are very good at what they do!

Scams: Have You Been Scammed?

Have You Been A Victim of a Scam?

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Do You Shop Online? Beware!

There are many scammers out there trying to sell you products that are either very poor quality, not what you think you are buying, and in some cases there is no product at all! They take your money and run. Sure they may offer you "100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back..." but when you try to contact the company they have vanished off the face of the earth. Another way that scammers can get you is to set up a lookalike site that looks like a legitimate store but is actually a fake. Beware of unsolicited emails offering a great deal. You should always go to the store's site directly. Don't click on links to major franchises that you haven't opted in to their mailing list.

Classified Advertising

The classified ads section of any newspaper or website may have many creeps laying their traps to get their victims. Again, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it is! This type of scam is one of the most dangerous as some people have been lured to their death answering an online or newspaper classified ad (remember Craigslist?) The key to staying safe while shopping online is to only use sites that you trust.

Falling For a Scam Is Like Getting Fake Money!

If it looks too good to be true then it is!
If it looks too good to be true then it is! | Source

Texting Scams

Ever get a pop-up window while you are surfing the Internet? Have you received a text message on your cell phone that says you have won "A $500.00 gift card to Best Buy"? Don't click the link! The only thing you will win is some malware or Trojan virus on your device. Some of these scams allow the user to track you via GPS on your phone. If you are at the mall then you aren't home; great opportunity for someone to go to your house and steal that brand new flat screen tv you got for Christmas!

Identity Theft: The Worst Scam of All!

Identity Theft is on the rise and there is no end in sight. According to certain statistics* as many as 15 million Americans have their identities stolen each year (*source: Each year the number of victims rise significantly. Identity Theft is the new norm and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. People can use your identity to make huge purchases, ruin your credit, steal your money, you may not be able to use your passport, and many other bad things come from Identity Theft. It is not something anyone should have to experience.

Check Out These Scams!

Tips On How To Avoid Being Scammed

As sad as it is there are schemes and scams hiding around every corner. No street or web page is safe from these greedy people. They prey on the weak, the naive, the uninformed...don't become a statistic!

Here are some actions you can take to avoid scams and having your identity stolen:

  • Shred all personal documents that contain important and private information (Social Security number, bank accounts, etc)
  • Don't carry unnecessary documents in your purse or wallet (social security cards, passport, etc.)
  • Do not throw out old bank or credit card statements; shred them!
  • Protect your work records and tax information
  • Get a filing cabinet with a lock or better yet, a fire safe. Store all your important documents inside.
  • When shopping take care! Many people (including store personnel) may want to steal your credit card information. Cameras in stores also make it easy for would-be thieves. Pay attention when you use your credit cards in a store (and online).
  • Install Antivirus Software on your computer and update it regularly. You should scan your computer for viruses at least once per week.
  • Use common sense! If it smells like a rat, it's a rat!
  • Don't fall for promotions that sound too good to be true.
  • Never share your personal information with others.
  • Change your online passwords frequently (banking, email, etc.)

Scams will never go away. In fact there are more and more scams and con artists trying to steal your information and money. If you feel that you have become the victim of a crime or scam contact your local authorities immediately.


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    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hello CraftytotheCore and thanks for sharing your experience. I think the store could have had better security protocol to make sure something like this doesn't happen. I hope it all works out for you with no repercussions. Thanks for stopping by!


    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Such good information. Just recently a grocery store gave out my personal information to a person applying for a store card. We coincidentally had the same name, so they thought that person was me. I'm really upset over the matter. People often have the same name so I don't understand why the store didn't go by the info on the ID instead of trying to confirm my info with a stranger.

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hello scraw! I'm sorry to hear that that happened to you. I have to agree with you. In general we a trusting in nature. That is, until we get burned a few times. Thanks for sharing your experience.


    • scraw profile image

      sean crawford 4 years ago from los angeles

      Hello fellow hubber, I have experienced a scam or two in my day. Someone got ahold of my debit card through the mail and used it to buy some electronic goods. I reported it to the bank and never made the same mistake. I feel that scammers are prevalent because of the belief in scarcity and in some cases a lack of confidence.

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Kelly! There are so many scams these days and the thieves are getting smarter every day. Your husband's experience is humorous and you just never know! It's great to see you! Thanks for stopping by!


    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Thanks J.S. - I am always worried about scams because I am online so much.

      My husband's aunt ordered a "no fail" method for killing roaches on t.v. many years ago...for 5 dollars. Dave said when she got it - it was two squares of wood with an X painted on one of them. The instructions were to smash the two pieces of plywood together with the roach on the X."

      hahahahaha You never know do you??

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Eiddwen: Hello Eddy! Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week!


    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Snurre: I totally agree. The only thing worse than a charity scam is actually stealing from a cause (like a donation can on a countertop in a store). It really is repulsive and I bet these heartless people make a lot of money scamming innocent people who truly want to help. Worse off, it makes many people not trust in the system and therefore are not willing to donate to real causes. It really is sad. Thanks for sharing your opinion and for voting!


    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @tillsontitan: Hey there! No matter how often we hear about scams on the news people still fall victim to them everyday! Technology does help the scam artists because they can operate virtually invisible. I'm glad you liked this Hub. I thought the video was interesting and informative. Thanks for commenting and voting! It's always great to hear from you.


    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @mary615: Hi there! The scams can affect anyone, anytime. Even government institutions like SS can become victims. (Apple and Facebook were both hacked last week!) That's why there are so many rules and precautions taken. I am not surprised that this happened. Many people don't shred their statements and all the info a scammer needs is on the paper in the trash which by the way, is considered public once it leaves your property! That's crazy about FedEx and I am glad that you didn't get caught up in it! I appreciate you sharing your experience. Thanks for the comment, vote and share!


    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @agvulpes: Howdy! You are right that no one is 100% safe from these scams. Every day new scams come out! We really have to educate ourselves and beware. To the scammers they think they are legit. Really is a shame! Thanks for stopping by!


    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @torrilynn: Hello! Glad this was informative for you! I appreciate you reading, commenting and sharing!


    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Faith Reaper: Hi! Wow what a great response on this Hub! It's good to know these scams and to watch out for them. I almost fell for the Nigerian scam where they say you won money and have to send some to get it. I checked into it and realized it was a scam. Again, if it sounds too good to be true... That was a long time ago and I am more aware now. Thanks for your comment, votes and for sharing!


    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and thank you for sharing this with us. Enjoy your day.


    • Snurre profile image

      Snurre 5 years ago

      Charity scams are the most disgusting of them all. I mean, when people play on someone's greed, it's sort of understandable (moral: don't be greedy!). But when it's the best in people that gets stomped over, then it's really terrible.

      Voted up and useful.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      People can't be warned enough about SCAMS! They seem to grow exponentially with technology. The smarter we are the more susceptible we a society. Technology is our best accomplishment and our scariest place. You've given good examples and the video is tops! Hopefully, someone out there will read this an avoid a tragedy.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I just read in our local newspaper yesterday about people who call Social Security and ask that their monthly check be deposited into THEIR account. SS complies. These bad guys have obtained a person't SS number and other info.

      I received an email from "FedEx" saying they had attempted to deliver my package (I was expecting one). They said they needed more info in order for my package to be delivered. I called FedEx and was told that hackers got into their info for packages and stole many email addresses. I did not click on their link, cause I was suspicious.

      Voted UP and will share.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 5 years ago from Australia

      Great info and we do all need to be vigilant, no one is protected 100%!!!

      If only these scammers put as much effort into a legitimate enterprise they could become honest millionaires. But that is too much to hope for :)

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 5 years ago

      j.s. matthew,

      really great hub here that helps people to avoid all of the scam on the internet or not

      i really like informative this was for me and how it would be for others.

      voted up and sharing.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      Informative hub here. I've seen just about all the scams there seems to be out there, and thankfully, I am pretty good at detecting them, as if it sounds too good to be true, then it is. Ha.

      Voted up ++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      That's so true Cyndi10 especially with younger children. They tend to think that they are smart and that it won't happen to them (my 15 year old daughter...) Changing passwords is also a good idea. I should add that to this Hub! Thanks for your comment and votes! I appreciate you stopping by.


    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Good precautions to share. Thanks for providing some valuable information. I think the internet lulls many into a false sense of security, especially younger users. So much of what we do is on the internet, when we are asked for information we don't even think about it. It's best make it a habit not to respond to anything you didn't solicit. It is also a good idea to change passwords often on whatever we use online, such as our bank accounts, even our emails. They are being hacked way to often and could give someone access to information we don't want shared. Voted up and useful.