Do You Know 2017’s New Internet Scams?

Philip Bates 27-12-2017

Cybercriminals never really tire of the tried-and-tested scams; however, they advance their techniques and try out new iterations of classic scams. They must, in order to stay ahead of the numerous warnings issues by security companies and sites.


Millions are tricked every year, and the scams of 2017 will live on into 2018 and beyond.

Here are just a few of the latest internet scams you need to protect yourself against.

1. The “Goods Not Received” Scam

You order an item. You wait for it. It doesn’t turn up. The seller maintains they have sent it. But it never arrives.

new internet scams in 2017
Image Credit: Susanne Nilsson via Flickr

Yes, it’s that simple, and I’m sure you or someone you know has had that happen. Sometimes it’s genuine: only a relatively small number of sellers have malicious intent. But occasionally, it’s a petty crime.


Of course, if you raise an issue within a specific time limit, the seller has to, by law, either replace or refund the item.

The scammer will endeavour to delay any official complaints until the previously agreed period — typically 30 days or within a timeframe agreed between you and the seller in the case of pre-orders. Fortunately, if you pay by PayPal An Introductory Guide to PayPal Accounts & Services PayPal offers a lot of services that you might not be aware of -- here's a guide to understanding some of the lesser-known options. Read More , you have a 180-day window (with some exceptions) to raise any problems.

2. Sending the Goods

The above scam works both ways What Should I Do If an Item I've Paid for Doesn't Arrive? Did that item you bought online get lost in the post? Or was it really a scam? Learn how to protect yourself from "Goods Not Received" scams and other online shopping fakery. Read More , however.

If you’re a seller reading this, you probably are honest in your intentions. That doesn’t mean the recipient is.


Someone buys an item. You send it. You then receive a message saying the package never arrived Your Amazon Order Never Arrived? Here's What You Should Do Bought something on Amazon but the package never arrived? Here's what to do if your Amazon item was not delivered. Read More .

As before, it might be a genuine issue, or perhaps someone is trying to get their money back despite having received the product. And you have to offer either that or a replacement under the consumers’ rights.

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling as a third-party on Amazon or through an auction site, although the latter can be particularly troublesome 7 Security Reasons Why You Should Avoid eBay In the last few years, eBay has been hit with seemingly endless hacks, data breaches, and security flaws, which they've struggled to deal with. Are eBay trustworthy, or should you avoid shopping with them? Read More . This can happen to anyone, so don’t feel singled out.

new internet scams in 2017
Image Credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr


The key tip here is to get proof of postage. Ask for a receipt when sending parcels, or if booking online, print off and keep any confirmation emails. This is essential because you can then raise the problem with the delivery firm, and in some cases, get money back.

Also consider getting it signed for. This is especially important if the item you’re sending has a high price-point. That way, you have additional proof that the package has been delivered. It could be a simple mistake: it might’ve been given to a neighbor!

3. Advance Fee Fraud

The “Goods Not Received” scam must work in many cases because this is another variant iteration of it.

new internet scams in 2017
Image Credit: via Flickr


Namely, a seller will encourage you to take discussions to a different platform, away from official marketplaces. They might tell you that they can give you a discount 13 Bargain Websites That Are Cheaper Than eBay eBay is a useful site for finding cheap deals, but don't overlook these shopping sites that can be cheaper than eBay. Read More . It’s tempting. You start exchanging messages via email, SMS, or even by phone. They’ll argue that eBay and its ilk take a percentage of the fees, which is what’s driven the price up. You might consider this a fair argument.

But to save money, they’ll need you to pay for an item before you receive it. And guess what? It won’t arrive.

This is especially concerning if they ask for a transfer of funds between bank accounts How I Nearly Got Conned Via A Western Union Transfer Scam Here's a little story about the latest "Nigerian scam", which is all too obvious in hindsight and yet so believable when you're on the hook. Read More . Never take part in a wire transfer because you essentially concede some rights and pretty much guarantee you won’t get any money back. If you must, PayPal is a more secure way of doing things. But here’s a better tip…

Say no.

Easy, isn’t it? Most genuine sellers won’t ask you to do it, so be suspicious of those who do. And just say no. You’re otherwise putting yourself at risk of being scammed. Is it worth saving a couple of bucks?

4. Fake Shipping Information

Our shopping habits are moving increasingly from brick-and-mortar stores to online. As such, our inboxes are frequently filled up with order confirmations and shipping information.

But not all those emails are real. Some are fraudulent claims purporting to be from major retailers or delivery firms.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Here's How Much Your Identity Could Be Worth on the Dark Web It's uncomfortable to think of yourself as a commodity, but all of your personal details, from name and address to bank account details, are worth something to online criminals. How much are you worth? Read More , such as your name and date of birth, is pretty easy for scammers to get hold of Here Are 6 Pieces of Paper You Should Always Shred We know that important documents must be shredded, but complacency is easy: 'it doesn't really matter.' But should you go to extremes and destroy all records? Which documents do you really need to shred? Read More . Email addresses, for example, can be mined and sold on the dark web What Is the Deep Web? It's More Important Than You Think The deep web and the dark web both sound scary and nefarious, but the dangers have been overblown. Here's what they actually and how you can even access them yourself! Read More . This may result in a master list of names to send fake messages to.

Scammers send emails out en masse claiming to have problems with an order or delivery. They may say you weren’t in when they tried to deliver a parcel, or public holidays mean a change in timeslot. Such messages will likely have a spoof address What Is Email Spoofing? How Scammers Forge Fake Emails It looks like your email account has been hacked, but those weird messages you didn't send are actually due to email spoofing. Read More and a subject line reading “Re: Shipping Information” (or similar).

The email will include a link to a site where you can supposedly reschedule or view orders. Of course, you’re instead becoming a victim of phishing What Exactly Is Phishing & What Techniques Are Scammers Using? I’ve never been a fan of fishing, myself. This is mostly because of an early expedition where my cousin managed to catch two fish while I caught zip. Similar to real-life fishing, phishing scams aren’t... Read More .

You might download ransomware or enter login details, surrendering passwords and/or banking information. Thousands fall for this every single day.

How do you combat this? Just don’t click on any links in emails.

Contact the delivery firm directly if you think this might be real. Don’t go through email but instead via contact details on an official site, opened in a separate tab.

5. Netflix Suspension

Netflix has more than 110 million subscribers. Of course users are going to be massive targets!

You probably receive emails from the streaming service The Ultimate Netflix Guide: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Netflix This guide offers everything you need to know about using Netflix. Whether you're a new subscriber or an established fan of the best streaming service out there. Read More , alerting you to new content and occasional price changes Netflix Raises Prices to Fund More Original Content If you're currently subscribed to Netflix then you should prepare yourself to start paying more for the privilege. Because Netflix is raising the price of two of its three plans in several countries. Read More . But the latest related scam claims your account has been suspended. To resolve the problem, just click on the link.

These phishing scams are far from new. Fake emails supposedly from Netflix aren’t even new.

However, what marks this one out as something different is firstly how many have received the mail (the clear majority of users), and secondly how authentic it looks Please Beware This New Netflix Email Scam There's a new Netflix phishing email doing the rounds, and this one seems particularly well put-together. So please beware, and make others aware as well. Read More . Messages are typically personalized, and clicking on the link takes you to what appears to be a real landing page. This displays some of the latest shows that may be recommended to you otherwise, including Netflix Originals 15 New Netflix Originals You'll Be Watching in 2017 Netflix is now producing its own original content. And some of the new Netflix Originals set to debut in 2017 definitely look like they'll be worth watching. Read More like The Crown.

It encourages you to input your personal information once more, including your credit card details. By doing so, you’re handing banking data over to cybercriminals.

Realistically, the only times your account might be suspended is if your card reaches its expiration date (which is easy enough to check) or if you do it yourself. Maybe you’re going on vacation for a while, and don’t want to be charged for a service you won’t be using. Fortunately, you can cancel your account, and viewing preferences will be kept ready to restart your membership within 10 months.

Let’s drum this important note into your head: do not click on links in emails.

If you are concerned about your account, sign in on a different device or tab. You’ll see any problems.

6. Vacant Vacation

You’re looking for accommodation for when you go on vacation. In 2017, nearly 37 million U.S. residents used Airbnb to find a room 5 Big Benefits of Booking an AirBnB Room over a Hotel AirBnB has enhanced the guest experience, and mainstream hotels are starting to feel the heat. Here's what AirBnB is doing different, and how it'll improve your traveling experience. Read More . By 2021, that estimate is set to rise to more than 60 million. That’s Americans alone. Cybercriminals know this gives them an incredible opportunity.

And there are so many variations of this, including ones that encapsulate Advanced Fee Fraud, and fake links in messages.

Most boil down to finding somewhere to stay, only for the property owner to find a problem: either they want a substantial deposit beforehand, or discover that the dates selected are already booked. In the case of the latter, they could tell you they have a similar property in a nearby location. They’ll send you an email with a link in to check it out.

new internet scams in 2017
Image Credit: Jesse Wagstaff via Flickr

No surprises here. It leads to a fake site. It might look exactly like Airbnb, but scammers have an uncanny ability to duplicate a real site. Once more, you’re probably downloading malware.

Again, the important thing here is not to deviate from official infrastructure. Once in Airbnb, search within the site. Do not click on links within private messages. In fact, you should learn to spot the signs of fraudulent mail How to Spot a Phishing Email Catching a phishing email is tough! Scammers pose as PayPal or Amazon, trying to steal your password and credit card information, are their deception is almost perfect. We show you how to spot the fraud. Read More . They generally come in handy.

Often, when you pay in advance, the accommodation doesn’t exist or is owned by someone else, so try an image search. This might show you the same property, albeit from a different destination/owner.

2018 and Beyond?

Suffice to say, it’s not been a great year for security and privacy.

There was the Equifax breach How to Check If Your Data Was Stolen in the Equifax Breach News just surfaced of an Equifax data breach that affects up to 80 percent of all U.S. credit card users. Are you one of them? Here's how to check. Read More , which is one of the biggest leaks in U.S. history. Over 700 million email addresses were compromised by the Onliner Spambot 711 Million Email Addresses Compromised by Onliner Spambot Read More . The massive threat against net neutrality Net Neutrality Explained: This Is What's Going to Happen to the Internet Net neutrality is under attack again, and it's not looking good. Here's what you must know about the repeal of net neutrality and what it means for the web. Read More . These are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed.

Sure, governments will try to infringe on your rights How the War on Terror Is Affecting Your Online Privacy The War on Terror is impacting your online privacy. The line in the sand between right and wrong continues to widen. Here's how your privacy is being infringed, supposedly in the fight against terror. Read More , and scammers will endeavour to squeeze you for all the cash they can. But it’s not as bad as it all sounds. You just need to keep a level head and take sensible precautions.

How do you think fraudsters will adapt in 2018? What’s been your biggest security concern this past year? And what tips can you share for protecting yourself? Let us know below.

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  1. Reg
    March 27, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    If you do get scammed you can fight back by requesting a chargeback from your credit card company. Don't try it alone -- it's a complicated process that can drive you crazy if you don't have professional assistance. Contact a chargeback consultant. They know all the ins and outs and know more than the banks do. I used one called Mychargeback. Good luck.

  2. dragonmouth
    December 27, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    "And what tips can you share for protecting yourself?"
    The biggest tip: USE YOUR HEAD!
    These scams succeed because the victims conduct the transactions without thinking.

    "1. The “Goods Not Received” Scam"
    Order merchandise only from reputable/known retailers. After all, you would not buy a watch from a random person on the street.

    "3. Advance Fee Fraud"
    Again, do not engage in transactions with shady sellers. If you're so greedy for a few dollars that you are willing to bypass the site's procedure, you deserve to be scammed.

    "4. Fake Shipping Information"
    How do you combat this? BE AWARE of what you have and have not ordered, when and from whom. If you got an email or even an official looking letter from Dewey, Cheatham and Howe, Esqs. threatening you with legal action because you owe $10,000 to their client, Shady Jewelers, would you respond with a check?

    "5. Netflix Suspension"
    Again, BE AWARE of what memberships you have.

    "6. Vacant Vacation"
    Airbnb may be cheaper and may provide you with a place to stay closer to the attractions but it is mainly unregulated. A well known motel/hotel chain will rarely try to scam you and, if they do, you always have a recourse. If you get scammed by an Airbnb owner, who do you call, ghostbusters?

    "How do you think fraudsters will adapt in 2018?"
    It's the potential victims who need to adapt by starting to use their heads for something other than places to stick a hat on. The same scams have been successful for decades and many people still haven't learned. As long as scammers are making money, they do not need to adapt.