ScamBusters.org's list of the Top 10 Internet scams of 2007 and predictions for 2008: Internet ScamBusters #262
In this Special Issue of ScamBusters, we'll share with you what the Top 10 Internet scams were in 2007 (including how close our December predictions last year came to reality), and we'll again go out on a limb and predict scammers' Top 10 Favorite Internet scams for 2008.
While our predictions may be unscientific, we don't just toss darts at a board. Our "crystal ball" is powered by the tens of thousands of emails and feedback forms we receive, as well as countless news items about the latest Internet scams.
We want you to know who's been hooked by which crooks, so you can better protect yourselves in the future.
We're not always right about the Top 10 rankings, but the "big picture" will definitely increase your odds of having a scam-free New Year!
Now, here we go...
The Top 10 Internet Scams of 2007 and 2008
If our biggest wishes for the season would come true, there would be no need for ScamBusters issues like this -- because we'd live in a world without Internet scams!
Until that day comes, however, it's important to stay informed and alert for the most likely ways that scammers will attack you and your wallet.
Last year's predictions for the Top 10 Internet Scams were fairly close to what actually happened. In fact, we believe we did a better job of odds-making than most economists or political pundits. 😉
But we'll let you be the judge.
Read up on our original our original for the Top 10 Internet scams of 2007.
With the help of hindsight, here is our list of the actual 10 Biggest Internet Scams for 2007:
10. Work-at-home scams. (Predicted as #10)
9. Pump and dump scams. This "oldie but goodie" just missed being on our Top 10 predictions list. Unfortunately, many people still fall for these phony "stock tips" -- spam schemes designed to "pump" up certain stock prices so scammers could then "dump" them at a profit. You can find more on these stock tips scams in our 'Are "Hot" Stock Tips Really Hot?' article.
8. Online dating scams. (Predicted as #9)
7. Spyware threats. (Predicted as #6)
6. Overpayment scams. (Predicted as #7)
5. Nigerian scams. (Predicted as #5)
4. Viruses, worms, and Trojans. (Predicted as #4)
3. Lottery scams. (Predicted as #3)
2. Phishing scams. (Predicted as #2)
1. Identity theft scams. (Predicted as #1)
As you can see, six of our 10 predictions were ranked perfectly. Three needed minor ranking adjustments, but only ONE Top 10 scam prediction didn't make our prediction list.
Pump and dump scams made our predictions list for 2006, but we believed that in 2007-- after so much widespread media coverage -- these scams would be overtaken by some other scam. Sadly, these scams continued full force, which is why we've returned them to our predictions list for 2008.
The only scam that was bumped by reality in 2007 was "new category of scams."
We thought scammers were "too cunning to go three years in a row without [inventing] a new, major category of scam," but it seems they spent last year refining their skills and creating new scam variations within old categories.
THAT SAID, we don't believe that scammers will go FOUR years in a row without concocting some new major scam category (like they did with phishing scams several years ago) -- but let's hope we're wrong. 😉
Predictions for the 10 Top Internet Scams of 2008:
10. New category of scams. (No, we're not going to keep predicting this until it happens.) It didn't occur in 2007, which surprised us, but we think the growing popularity of social networking sites makes this region of cyberspace especially vulnerable to a new wave of scams in 2008.
We don't know what form these scams will take, but we believe there WILL BE a new category. And, if/when a new scam category strikes the Internet, we'll give you the news ASAP!
9. Pump and dump scams.
8. Online dating scams.
7. Spyware threats.
6. Overpayment scams.
5. Viruses, worms and Trojans.
4. Nigerian scams -- with many new twists.
3. Lottery scams.
2. Phishing scams.
1. Identity theft scams.
The famous essayist (and misanthrope) H.L. Mencken once said, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
We're not particularly fond of Mencken's viewpoint. It's often not stupidity that causes people to lose money by falling into scammers' traps, but desperation, greed and -- very often -- lack of knowledge and information.
For example, even the smartest, most educated people have been duped by phishing scams, which lead them to websites that are almost identical to those posted by reputable merchants and financial institutions. Especially when phishing scams started, many people were fooled... unless they knew how to spot the scams.
That's why ScamBusters.org offers the latest news about current scams and scam trends -- as a public service. We want you to know what to look for, and how to avoid being ripped off.
Armed with knowledge about the top Internet scams of this year and next year, you're much more likely to have a happy and prosperous New Year.
We hope you've enjoyed this Special Issue. We wish you and your family a very happy, healthy and wonderful Christmas -- and we'll see you next week!