The top internet scams, as reported by the United States Federal Trade Commission:

  • Internet Auctions
    Paying for but not receiving your merchandise. EBay and Computers By Us were two of the biggest complaints. Know where your money is going before sending it. Use postal money orders.
  • Internet Access Service
    Customers buy something, such as a computer, and use a major discount offered by a major ISP. The customers are annoyed that they are trapped in a multi-year contract. This falls into the "Duh, I liked the $400 but now I don't wanna pay the monthly charges" vein.
  • Credit Card Fraud
    The generic steal-the-CC-database trick, or someone obtains your info when you use the card. Crackers and criminals, not hackers, are involved with online CC theft.
  • Travel and Vacations
    You respond to spam to get a "free" vacation, but it ends up costing you a bundle. Usually falls in the "Shucks, didn't read the fine print" vein.
  • Investments
    Stock trading services with "no risk" and "huge returns" on your investment. Again, know where your cash goes. If a "hot" stock tip comes in by email from some account in Russia, it is spam, not Alan Greenspan or OutpostMir.
  • Health Care
    Cancer cures, AIDS cures, baldness cures, cures for cures. I wish they'd develop a cure for spammers.
  • Porn
    Porn companies taking your CC number that "proves" you're an adult and racking up charges. RJB Telecom, which gives you a free Porn finder program, dials up some website in the Carribean and delivers huge naked phonebills.

The hard data came from the US FTC and AP.