Internet and Online Scams

The internet plays such a huge role in our day-to-day lives that it can be easy to forget that not everyone online has your best interests at heart. Internet and online scams are becoming increasingly more complex and there are now many different forms of online scams, all designed to trick and fool unsuspecting victims and scam them out of their money. 

Internet scams pose an ever-present threat to everyone that goes online, so it is essential to familiarise yourself with the different types of online scams so that you can prevent yourself from falling victim to them in the future. However, the signs are not always obvious. 

There are also many different types of online trading scams which are targeted towards traders and investors in an effort to get them to lose their finances which are often disguised as bad trades or are the result of a fluctuating stock market. 

Common Types Of Online and Internet Scams

PUMP AND DUMP SCAM

As mentioned, there are different types of online trading scams targeted towards traders and investors. One of the most common, yet easily disguised scams, is pump and dump fraud. This is where scammers disguise themselves as influencers or investors to create hype around stock or crypto, leading more people to invest in it and causing the value to increase. Once this happens, the scammers will then sell their shares, earning large amounts of money and leaving the rest of the investors with little to no returns once the stock inevitably plummets. 

Pump and Dump Scams

AFFINITY FRAUD

Affinity fraud is a form of online scam which targets people within certain demographics in an attempt to try and persuade them to be part of a pyramid or Ponzi scheme. Scammers will often target religious groups, with the promise of high returns from little investment. Due to the nature of affinity fraud and the demographics targeted, victims will often try to sort the repercussions out themselves when they realise they’ve been scammed, rather than reaching out for legal assistance. This is where we can help.

Affinity fraud

PENSION SCAMS

There are numerous types of pension scams, however, online scams are becoming increasingly more common as more and more people take to the internet looking to combine different pension schemes or manage their pension funds more closely or efficiently. Pension scammers will often appear very knowledgeable on the topic and will refer people to credible sites, such as HMRC or government-recommended schemes. Once they have your trust, they will try to persuade you to transfer your pension to them as an investment opportunity where, more often than not, all money transferred will be stolen outright.

Pension Scams

BINARY OPTION SCAMS

Another common trading and online scam are binary option scams. Binary option – a form of trading – is one which itself is relatively high risk and as a result, brings with it additional risks in the form of advanced scams. Binary option scammers will often present themselves as being legitimate investors and will work to gain your trust, although it is currently illegal for investment brokers to offer binary option investments in the UK, which results in a lot of these scammers operating off-shore, meaning that when your money is lost, it can be harder to trace.

Binary Option scams

LAND BANKING FRAUD

We’re experienced in recovering the lost funds of investors who have fallen victim to land banking fraud. Although a scam which was more prevalent around 10 years ago, with more people investing in land and property as a way of diversifying their investment portfolio, we continue to see people who have fallen victim to this type of scam. With land banking scams not regulated by the FCA, it can be difficult to access support from the financial ombudsman, which is where we can provide our expertise. 

Land Banking Fraud

ADVANCED FEE FRAUD

Advanced fee fraud is a method popular with online scammers in order to target victims who are responding to advertisements for things such as jobs, competitions or rental opportunities. Scammers will impersonate legitimate businesses and purposefully target victims who may have poor credit history or are less financially secure, as they will be approved for whatever it is they apply for. Before victims receive the loan, product or service which they have applied for, the scammers will ask for an upfront fee payment, which is where the name of the scam comes from. 

Advanced Fee fraud

BOILER ROOM FRAUD

Known for being particularly high pressure, boiler room fraud is a type of online and trading scam which is targeted towards investors and traders. Although not as common as other trading scams, boiler room fraud does still occur with scammers looking to get traders and investors to deal in worthless or non-existent shares. This type of scam gets its name from the high pressure and constant sales tactics used by scam brokers.

Boiler Room Fraud

PHISHING SCAMS

Phishing scams are a type of scam where criminals impersonate a trusted person or legitimate company through text, email, advertisement or other means to steal sensitive information or funds. Perhaps one of the oldest, and most common, internet scam, phishing scams can affect anyone and any business. 

Phishing Scams

ROMANCE SCAMS

The rise in online dating platforms has brought with it an increase in the number of romance fraud cases. Romance fraud can be hugely devastating and emotional for the victim involved and in a lot of cases, involves the loss of large sums of money. However, as the transactions used typically involve bank transfers, this means that it can be traced and we can look to recover your lost funds. 

Romance Scams

SPOOFING SCAMS

Spoofing scams and fraud cases are on the rise and we’re seeing more and more clients come to us who have lost money through spoofing scams. Spoofing fraud is where a criminal will disguise themselves behind an email address, false website, display name, phone number or text message in an attempt to convince victims that they are interacting with a trusted and known source. 

SPOOFING SCAMS

IMPERSONATION SCAMS

Impersonation scams share signs with many other investment scams, but they are amongst the most common. This scam involves the impersonation of a government body, bank, delivery or utility company, or other organisations and trusted people who then demand payment from you. 

IMPERSONATION SCAMS

ADVANCED FEE FRAUD

Advanced fee fraud is a common method used by scammers to target victims by asking them to send upfront or advance fees and payments for services or items, which the victim then never gets. This could be for a loan, to secure a rental property or even for employment purposes. 

Advanced Fee Fraud

BANK FRAUD AND SCAMS

Bank fraud is a major problem which can cause serious financial loss for those affected. It is a serious crime and one which can take and include numerous different forms, from impersonation scams and identity theft to phishing scams and authorised payment fraud. 

BANK FRAUD AND SCAMS

PURCHASE SCAMS

Purchase scams are a growing form of online fraud and typically typically involve victims knowingly transferring funds from their UK-based bank account to a fraudulent app or via bank transfer, in the belief that they are making a legitimate purchase. 

PURCHASE SCAMS

INVESTMENT SCAMS

Investment scams can take on many forms, often disguised in a way to dupe the investor into making large or unusual investments. Scammers will impersonate trusted figures such as a regulated broker, financial advisor, fund manager, or investment service provider and can even use professional looking adverts and websites in an attempt to validate their authority. 

INVESTMENT SCAMS

PONZI FRAUD

Ponzi fraud is a very fraudulent type of investment and trading scam. Traditionally, this was a scam done in person, but with the prevalence of social media and forums, it has become a common form of online scam, too. With the promise of large returns, Ponzi fraud operates by redistribution of the funds that were initially invested, so there is never actually new wealth being generated. Ponzi and pyramid schemes almost always fail, leaving investors with no funds and scammers with everyone’s investments.

Ponzi Fraud

How WRS Can Help

Here at WRS, our team of experienced lawyers are on hand to help you recover your lost finances as a result of internet, trading and online scams. All online scams use very similar tactics when it comes to stealing money from victims and when these scams use cryptocurrency, we can use our unique software which can trace where exactly the stolen funds have gone. 

Our tracing services can locate where the funds have been sent and their final destination, which means that we can then contact the host of the wallet destination and begin the recovery process. 

For more information, or to arrange a free consultation with one of our solicitors, contact us today.

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    There are some ways that you can avoid falling victim to internet and online scams. One of the easiest ways is to familiarise yourself with the most common types of internet scams so that you can spot the signs of these should they occur. As well as this, there are other ways in which you can stay safe when online:

    Be Cautious About Any Requests For Your Details or Money

    You should always avoid sending money, personal details or payment details to people you don’t know or trust, especially online. Only use secure payment methods and never agree to transfer money or goods on behalf of someone else, as this can be classed as money laundering. If you’re asked to pay for items or services in crypto or are pressured into making crypto trades, this could also indicate that it is an online scam.

    Be Wary Of Phishing Scams

    Another common theme we see when people lose money through online scams is that they have done so through phishing scams. You should always avoid clicking on links or attachments sent in messages or emails and never respond to unusual messages asking for personal or financial information.

    Resist Calls To Act With Urgency

    One tactic common with online scammers is to pressure victims into making the trade or transaction right away. They will often say it’s required due to an expiring offer, or perhaps the market has increased drastically. Legitimate businesses or brokers will never pressure you into making a decision and will always give you time to consider your options. Anyone who applies constant or unwavering pressure on you is likely to be a scammer.

    As the complexity of the internet has progressed, so too have the various types of online and internet scams. The most common types of online scams are the ones which include bank fraud or ones in which the scammers gain something, such as personal information or sensitive details, so that they can attempt to blackmail or coerce victims into parting with money for the information to be returned.

    If you think that you’ve been the victim of an online scam, then the important thing to do is not to panic. We understand that it is devastating losing money through a scam, but we are here to help and have processes in place to potentially trace and recover your lost funds. The first step is to call your bank as they may be able to stop the payment going through, report the scam to the police and then contact us so arrange a free consultation to see if we can help with your case. You should also report the scam to Action Fraud and National Cyber Security Centre to prevent the scams from occuring again.

    This really depends on which bank you are with and also the type of scam you’ve been involved with. For example, Revolut doesn’t hold a UK banking licence, so if you’ve been part of a Revolut scam, then they may not be responsible to help you. The best thing to do if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam is to call your bank as soon as possible, as they may be able to stop the payment. They will then be able to provide the next best steps to help recover your money. If they can’t help, give us a call at Wealth Recovery Solicitors.

    Some common signs of an internet scam to be cautious of include:

    • Any requests for sensitive information or bank details
    • A sense of urgency in the request being made
    • Asking you to transfer money
    • Text messages or emails asking you to make a payment
    • Being approached about investment opportunities
    • Offers that seem too good to be true
    • Spelling errors or design flaws in any type of communication
    • Someone using emotional manipulation to encourage you to disclose information (common in romance scams)