Some examples of scam and deceit

Anyone committing fraud or scam is aiming to enrich him/herself at the expense of others. Typical of fraud or scam : the swindlers never fulfil their promises. Then, when things start to become too hot for them, they disappear into thin air.

Now perhaps you are wondering which situations fall under fraud or scam. We sum up the most frequently occurring for you.

Spam e-mails (phishing) and text messages (smishing) from well-known organisations

Phishing is a form of online fraud and a scam aimed at abusing your trust: a scammer will send you an e-mail purporting to be another company with the intention of gaining access to your bank or personal data via a link.

Smishing refers to a similar type of fraud and scam by text message.

A phishing e-mail is often created using the logo and house style of your bank, a web shop, debt collection agency or another trusted institution or company. Some fraudsters will even misuse the name of public services to defraud people.

In such cases the message will contain a web link, asking you to check certain data. Often this includes financial data such as your bank account number. If you follow this up there is a high risk that the scammer will withdraw a large amount of money from your account ...

Other e-mails will have a risky attachment. If you open this kind of attachment, it will introduce a virus or spyware into your computer which will destroy it or give the scammer access to a lot of information.

Obviously, you would want to avoid this type of fraud or scam.To do so please take note of the following advice.

Our advice

  • Never open a link or attachment that looks suspicious.
  • Remember, your bank will never ask you by e-mail or text message to verify your data.
  • Contact the company or agency that sent you a suspicious e-mail or text to verify its authenticity. To do so remember to use the contact details provided on their website.
  • Report a suspicious e-mail or text message to [email protected].
  • Delete suspicious e-mails and text messages immediately.
  • Do not forward phishing and smishing messages to your contacts.

Have you received our advice too late and already passed on personal details? Or would you like to receive more comprehensive information about these types of scams? Visit to find out how to react appropriately. SafeOnWeb is a project managed by the ‘Centrum voor Cybersecurity’ (Cyber Security Centre) government department.

Tickets that never arrive

An important tennis tournament? A reunion performance of your favourite band? A summer festival you have been looking forward to for months? You would not miss it for love or money.

Unfortunately, the event is sold out. It is therefore not so silly to look online to find a way to be there still. Once again, though, fraud or scam lie in wait.

Did you still find the ticket you are craving somewhere else? Then always check whether the website is actually reliable. Otherwise, you could be paying loads of money for tickets you will never get!

Only one thing to advise: only buy your tickets through the official vendor!

Lotteries where you always lose

Imagine: you get an e-mail with fantastic news: you have won 15 million euro on a lottery! The amount will be in your account in a few days and you will be starting life as a millionaire. The only thing you have to do is to pay the administration charges. That alone is enough to start alarm bells ringing: fraud! scam!

After your first payment, you get a request to pay the bank charges. It carries on and on like that. Until finally you twig that you are only losing, and thus that you have fallen into the trap of fraud or scam.

Only one thing to advise: pay nothing!

Holiday homes that do not exist

Nor are you safe from fraud or scam on the holiday market. Be particularly on guard if you are searching online for a holiday home.

This scenario arises more often than you might think. You come across an advertisement for a superb villa. Swimming pool, bargain price, paradise setting. Only logical that you would want to jump at the chance before someone else grabs it. You complete all the formalities and pay the rent in advance.

The fraud and scam only come to light once you arrive at your destination and you notice that the holiday home simply does not exist.

Only one thing to advise: avoid direct payments to the landlord and work through platforms acting as intermediary.

False selling of second-hand cars

The internet would seem to be the place where a good second-hand car can be had. Nevertheless, fraud or scams flourish there.

Imagine: you discover a fantastic offer. The car looks like new and is said to be perfectly maintained. Furthermore, it was parked in the garage more often than the owner was on the road in it and now s/he is giving it away for a pittance.

It seems too good to be true. Then it is often too good to be true. A sign of fraud or scam!

The advertisement smells of deceit even more if the vendor suggests having a delivery company deliver the car to you. If you pay for that, you will be able to test the car. Like the car? Then the delivery company will hand the sum paid to the vendors. Not want the car? Then you get your money back. Yet, the reality is quite different: the car and your money suddenly disappear from the globe.

Only one thing to advise: never pay anything before you have seen the car itself!

Fake reviews

Do you check online reviews before deciding where to shop online? That’s the right approach! However, are the reviews very brief without a personal message? Or similar and badly written? Very recent and anonymous?

If so, the reviews may well have been manipulated. Check what the European rules stipulate concerning reviews and learn how to react in order to expose fake reviews in ‘Online reviews: can they be trusted?’.

Want some more examples? 

Read our brochure 'Fraud and deception: Recognising and reacting swiftly'.