The most frequent scams on the Internet, according to fraud reports compiled by the non-profit National Consumers League, are:
1. Internet and online services that promise Internet access or offer to create web pages but never deliver.
2. General merchandise sold through unsolicited e-mails, postings or web sites that offer the goods but deliver them damaged or not at all.
3. Auction sales offered on web sites for antiques, computer equipment and other items that misrepresent the value, drive up bids or fail to deliver.
4. Pyramids and multilevel marketing, or chain letters in cyberspace, that encourage people to join programs with the promise of big profits.
5. Business opportunities and franchises that advertise goods or services in cyberspace, such as the purchase of ATM machines that will supposedly be leased back to the seller and generate profits for buyers.
Tips to avoid being scammed
Fraud-watchers offer these guidelines:
Do business with companies you know and trust.
Understand the offer.
Check out the company's track record with consumer agencies and the Better Business Bureau.
Never give your credit-card number to a company you haven't checked out.
Know that people in cyberspace may not always be what they seem.
Know that unsolicited e-mail violates computer etiquette and is often used by con artists.
Be wary of downloading programs to see pictures or hear music from unfamiliar web sites.
Source: National Consumers League