Identifying a scam is not always easy. When you are surfing the internet or scrolling through your social media page, you can potentially be exposed to online scams. Scams come in a variety of guises, including those that specifically target the elderly and children. Therefore, you need to be able to learn the signs. Here are some tips on how you can identify online scams.

Emails, SMS, Phone Call and Social Media

These are the most common ways scammers like to reach their targets. Scammers will attempt to contact you and pretend to be from a legitimate business such a bank, telephone or internet service provider. The scammer asks you to provide or confirm your personal information. NEVER EVER give anyone your personal information through emails, SMS, phone calls or social media. Also don't click on any links you have been given as the link may contain a virus or malware.

The "Free Trial Offer"

Watch out for "free trial" offers. Some of the "free trial" tricks are legal because the conditions under which victims end up paying are often hidden in small print.


Many scams are rife with grammatical and spelling errors. If you receive messages laden with such errors about a "great deal" or contest, it's probably a scam, even if it comes from a "friend". However, there are plenty of scams that contain flawless wording, as it's one of the ways scammers make their messages look legitimate.

Foreign Offers

Look out for foreigners claiming they need a few hundred dollars to access thousands of dollars and tell you that they will provide you with a cut of the money. This type of scam has become common.

Talent Search

"Kids talent searches" are types of scams that target children specifically. These scams might suggest that a child joins a particular modelling agency or accepts an invitation for a screen test. They may seem real at first, but they always ask for money to continue "working" with the agency.

Scholarship Scam

Another scam that targets children is scholarship scams. They claim to be recognising children for academic achievement, but they will ask for significant upfront fees just like talent search.