Every minute of every day people are victims of online scams — most often they arrive via e-mail. Some experts estimate that one person every 10 seconds is a victim of some type of scam or identity theft, and often the theft of personal information is easier because the victim unwittingly provides personal data. Families with multiple computers are especially vulnerable because people are working on many different online tasks. Children are susceptible to scams with animals, sick children, and the hardships of disasters. Kids need to be reminded – frequently – not to hit the reply button, no matter how good the cause.
While most of us are familiar with the unrelenting e-mails from Nigeria, many other online scams, usually delivered by e-mail, are realistic and unnerving because they hit so close to home — for instance a charity soliciting around the time of a natural catastrophe or a seemingly thoughtful person writing to ask for contributions to police or victims of abuse. Sheryl Harris is often featured on the Market Place radio program, most recently on September 6, 2010. Scamfinder categories include: