Ten Ugly Internet Scams Of 2014

Internet Scam
Photo: Don Hankins

Who doesn’t love a good internet scam? Actually we all hate these scams, except for the scammers themselves. These low lifes have nothing better to do than rip off people who actually work a real job. If these tricksters would put one tenth of their con efforts toward gainful employment or a small business, they would make plenty of money without all the bad karma of thievery. 2014 was no different when it comes to new scams using the internet. Here are ten awful ones that will get your temper up.

Internet Scam
Photo: Don Hankins

10. I can’t classify a gym membership as an outright scam, but yearly contracts are a bad deal. Most people drop off after their New Year’s resolution fades in importance, yet you still have to pay.

9. The immigration issue has been in the news lately and led to con artists trying to pry dollars from people trying desperately to get US citizenship. The scammers promise help in getting past the masses ahead of them in line.

US Passport

8. It will be tax time before you know it and that means tax return scams. Not only do these scams cost you money, they can get you in trouble with the IRS if you deal with a sketchy guy who promises a big tax refund.

Tax Returns Scam
Photo: nydailynews

7. The fake college tuition refund scam gets many young people. People blindly follow links promising a big check for a “college loan refund”, then get a check in the mail which is made of rubber. If you cash a non-legit check, you are risking being part of the fraud yourself!

6. If you use Paypal to buy things online or even in person, it is safe….as long as you know you are on the real Paypal site. Some scammers have been selling items on craigslist and sending “Paypal” invoices that lead to dummy sites resembling the real thing.

5. This one is not meant to get anyone’s money or personal info. But having folks believe that the Earth will experience six days of darkness at the end of 2014 is a recipe for panic. People are gullible and only read the headlines.

4. Malware is a nasty little problem for anyone online. The holiday shopping season is proving to be a good time for scam pros to email victims a fake Walmart order confirmation. Clicking on the email link leads to a website that is ready to send you some holiday blues in the form of malware.


3. This may be one of the only instances of a scam that I do not feel sorry for the victim. Westboro Church is not the favorite institution of 99.98% of humans. So when their phone number was given out in a widespread hoax to get consumers to check on their possibly tainted Thanksgiving turkeys, I believe karma was at play.

2. Ebola is a terrible disease no doubt. However, now that the news has made it appear that the virus is attached to every corner of America, folks are scared. Scammers use this fear to con people out of donations to fake charities to stop Ebola.


1. Scam texts are gaining in popularity as more people use their smart phones to do banking and bill payments. People have made their cell phone into a pocket computer so it makes plenty of sense that crooks are using texts to get bank log-in information now.

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Shane McLendon
Wannabe geek and FLOW Seeker