By now, we should all know about the infamous Nigerian money scams. However, as P.T. Barnum duly noted a century ago and which still applies today, "There's a sucker born every minute." That means someone today will again lose money to internet fraud. (Although I do not have them right at hand, the statistics are sobering.)
What's a body to do? First, always remember if it sounds too good to be true, it very likely is. But also, a joint project by the U.S. Postal Service, the National Consumers League and other consumer groups--the Fake Check Campaign (FakeChecks.org)--has it as their mission to get the word out on check fraud, which comes in several forms, fake foreign lotteries, scheming suitors and phony work at home businesses, to name a few.
The Boomer Beat recommends that you take just a few minutes and drop by FakeChecks.org and tune-up your scam radar. Even after being on the internet for the past 20 years, I occasionally see an offer (or just a subject line) that grabs my attention. No, I have never fallen for such a scam, but the fact that an attempt even gets my attention is testament to scams' current levels of sophistication and apparent credibility.
In the words of Phil from the old Hill Street Blues TV program, "Let's be careful out there."
Additional links: Fraud.org; 2006 Top 10 Internet Scams!; FBI Overview of Internet Fraud; Internet Financial Scams; Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3); LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com