Las estafas son especialmente comunes en la Internet, en donde las nuevas tecnologías y anonimato ayudan para engañarlo. Estos son algunos ejemplos de estafas en la Internet y cómo se puede proteger.

Warning Signs on the Web

Educate yourself on these common warning signs that can help prevent you from falling victim to scam websites.

Your web browser warns you

Most web browsers have built-in features designed to alert you about dangerous or deceptive websites. If you receive one of these warnings, do not visit the site. However, just because a website does not generate a warning, does not mean it is legitimate. Scammers are constantly creating fake websites and it takes time for the browsers to detect them.

Unusual URL Structure 

The URL is the address of the website, found at the top of your web browser, for example, Carefully examine the URL of the website you are visiting. Look for subtle misspellings (for example, instead of

Also, watch for URLs that begin with the website you expect, but have extra characters at the end or unusual punctuation (for example or instead of

If there are any characters or words that look out of place in an otherwise normal URL, you may be on a phishing site built to look just like a trusted website. Read carefully.

No Business Contact Information is Listed 

Reputable businesses provide legitimate contact information. If a website does not list an address or phone number, be wary of providing personal information.


Tech Support Scams

Out of nowhere, you receive a call or a screen pops up on your computer, pretending to be from a reputable company like Microsoft or an anti-virus company. They tell you that they have detected a virus or an error on your computer, and probably warn that you will lose all of your data if you shut down or restart your computer.  In order to fix your computer, they direct you to a website where they instruct you to click on a link, download software, or input a special code, which allows them access to your computer. Sometimes they “scan” your computer to try to convince you there is something wrong. Don’t believe them!

Don’t give them access to your computer! If you do, the scammer can look on your computer for your personal or financial information, add malware that really will infect your computer, or add spyware so they can get your information in the future.

Instead, try exiting the internet, restarting your computer, or manually pressing the “off” button on your computer. Or try contacting a reputable source for help. Be careful though when searching for businesses on the internet – sometimes illegitimate services have paid for ads and created websites that might lead you to think they are the real thing!

Remember: real tech support or other computer companies don’t just contact you out of the blue.

Phishing Scams

Phishing is a scam in which the scammer poses as a legitimate, trusted source, in order to trick you into providing sensitive data such as your username, password, banking details or social security number. The scammer then uses the information to steal money or commit identity theft. Phishing attacks can also give scammers access to your computer or network to install malware or ransomware.

Phishing scams most commonly start with a fake email that appears to come from the trusted source but can also start with a text message (also called “smishing”) or telephone call (also called “vishing”) or a social media message.

If someone contacts you asking for your personal information — e.g., social security number, credit card number, bank account info — do not give it. And be careful of clicking on suspicious links in email messages.

If you are asked to log in after clicking a link in an email, be careful. You may want to verify that you have reached the real login site by instead logging into the website separately outside of the email. 

You can also report phishing emails to [email protected]. The Anti-Phishing Working Group — which includes ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies — uses these reports to fight phishing.

Social Media Messenger Scams

Scammers can hack a user’s Facebook or other social media account and send direct messages to their friends with deceptive content or phishing links that contain viruses. Be wary of suspicious outside links provided through messages especially if you are asked to log in after clicking.

Also, be careful if a social media friend makes suspicious offers, claims to have received a grant or business opportunity, or asks you for money through a message! Make sure to verify their statements outside of social media in case their account has been compromised. And it is good practice to only have friends on social media who you know in real life. 

Romance/Online Dating Scam

You meet someone great online – either on social media or a dating app. Their profile is impressive, and they’re quick to compliment you. Your relationship moves quickly, and you soon want to meet in person, but it never works out. Then, after some time, they ask you for money for a personal emergency. Be very cautious before giving them money.

This is likely a “catfish” scam. The person you’ve been beginning to trust could turn out to be a scammer who set up a false profile to trick you into getting access to your personal information or money.

Emergency Scams aka “Grandparent Scams”

These scams involve someone claiming to be your friend or family member in dire need. They prey on your emotions by inventing a situation that you must respond to immediately – with your money. While these scams are often conducted over the telephone, they can also happen via email or social media messaging.

Learn more about these scams and how to protect yourself on our Commons Scams page.

Online “Marketplace” Purchase Scams

Online transactions, whether you are the buyer or the seller, require caution to make sure you avoid scams.  This is particularly true if you are engaging in a person-to-person transaction, – perhaps through Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or eBay – rather than purchasing through an online store.

When you are buying items advertised online, make sure that the seller actually has possession of the goods being sold, and hasn’t just copied photos someone else has posted online.  If possible, view the product in-person before purchasing, but take appropriate safety precautions including meeting in a safe, well populated place and bringing a friend.

If you must purchase an item without viewing the item in person, take additional precautions:

  1. Ask for additional photos of the item to make sure the seller has the item. Ask for specific photos (e.g. from a certain angle or a close-up photo of a specific part) or for a photo of the item with a piece of paper with the current date or a specific message.
  2. If possible, purchase the item through a website that offers protections to buyers and sellers, or use a payment mechanism that offers buyer protections.
  3. Scammers sometimes set up their own fake escrow service, so do not rely on an escrow service suggested by the seller unless you have thoroughly researched it.    

Online sellers also need to take precautions to protect themselves and avoid being scammed.  Be careful not to post any personal information in your ad unless necessary, and check to be sure that any photos posted do not include house numbers or other identifying information.  Communicate with potential buyers using disposable email accounts or phone numbers.  If possible, meet the buyer in a safe, well populated place to complete the transaction, and bring a friend.    Be wary of any buyer who offers to pay with a cashier’s check or money order, especially if the check or money order is for more than the asking price. They are probably trying to engage in a counterfeit cashier’s check scam.

"Free" Gift Offers

Be wary of any email, text message, social media post, or Internet advertisement offering a free gift card or other free gift. Such offers usually suggest that you will receive the free gift just for providing your personal information or completing a survey. 

In reality, in most cases in order to qualify for the “free” gift, you will need to complete many rounds of “offers” or “surveys,” many of which require you to buy something.  While completing the “offers” or “surveys,” you may also unknowingly sign up for services that include a recurring monthly charge -- without even providing your credit card number. And even if you complete all of the requirements to qualify for the free gift, often the gift will never arrive. Even worse, sometimes the link that is supposed to lead you to the free gift, actually takes you to a website that installs malware on your computer. 

Malware Scams

A scammer will send an email or share a post with a sensational or attention-getting headline – like fake celebrity news or a too-good-to-be-true sale – along with an attachment or a link to a website. The attachment may contain malware or the link may take you to a website that installs malware on your computer.

Be wary of any unexpected email that contains an attachment or link to another website, even if the email came from a friend – the friend’s computer or email could have been hacked.  If you receive an unexpected email with an attachment or suspicious link, confirm through another method that your friend actually sent it. 

Also, be wary clicking on links with shortened URLs (where you can’t tell what website you are really going to) or other suspicious link posted on social media. This is especially a problem on Twitter, where the character limit of tweets makes it common to post shortened URLs.

Advance Fee Scams

Scammers may promise you some kind of benefit: a loan, a prize like a foreign lottery, a government grant, an inheritance, an opportunity to work from home, or more. The catch is, they want payment up front before you can receive your benefit. Sometimes they will ask for a payment by wire transfer, online payment, or even gift cards. Stop and think – why are you having to pay to receive this benefit? Are you being asked by a source you know and trust? Do your research to avoid these scam artists!

Foreign Money Exchange Scam aka “Nigerian Fraud”

You receive an email informing you that a "government minister" (or his widow), a lawyer representing a deceased client from a foreign country, or a business owner wants to deposit money from a foreign country in your bank account. There are many variations on the same theme but they all have a similar catch. First, you must pay their "transaction fees" or “taxes.” Anytime you have to send money to collect a huge windfall, you should STOP in your tracks. The dream of a huge sum of money is very alluring, but there is no money. It's fake. The truth is that they want to take your money, so do not respond.

Remember that pretty much any scam that can occur off of the Internet can also be perpetrated through it!

Ayude Acabar con Correo Basura Electrónico

No todo el correo electrónico basura es ilícito. Hay pasos que usted puede tomar para ayudar acabar con el correo electrónico basura.

Leyes de Control del Correo Electrónico Basura

Las leyes estatales y federales controlan a los que envían mensajes de correo electrónico basura y lo protegen a usted.

La ley de Controlar el Ataque de Pornografía y Mercadeo No Solicitado (CAN-SPAM, siglas en inglés) es una ley federal que establece condiciones para los comerciantes que usan el correo electrónico para mercadeo. La Comisión Federal de Comercio (Federal Trade Commission, FTC) y la Procuraduría General son responsables de aplicar y sancionar las infracciones bajo esta ley.

La Ley CAN-SPAM requiere que los mensajes comerciales por correo electrónico que no son solicitados:

  • Sean identificados como anuncios publicitarios
  • Usen información clara, precisa y que no sea engañosa en su línea de asunto y encabezado.
  • Deben proporcionar una dirección del remitente de correo electrónico que funciona y una dirección física legítima en el material de publicidad enviado por correo postal
  • Deben incluir una selección para que las personas puedan indicar su opción para no recibir publicidad en el futuro

Más información sobre las normas de la Ley CAN-SPAM, su aplicación y sanciones está disponible en la página Internet de la Comisión Federal de Comercio.

Limitando la Cantidad de Correo Electrónica Basura

Usted puede tomar pasos para disminuir y manejar el número de correos electrónicos no deseados que llegan a su buzón electrónico.

Use un filtro de correo electrónico. Tome provecho de todas las herramientas disponibles a través de su servicio de email y proveedor de servicio Internet para filtrar su correo electrónico. Si los mensajes basura logran pasar por el filtro y llegan a su buzón, márquelos como basura para ayudar a mejorar el filtro.

Evite Publicar Su Dirección de Email en la Internet. Los que envían correo basura “extraen” direcciones de email de páginas en la Internet, por lo tanto, usted jamás debe publicar su dirección de email en una página pública en la Internet, incluyendo publicaciones de blog, salones de chat, redes sociales o en anuncios clasificados en la Internet.

Proteja su dirección de email personal. Considere usar dos direcciones de email – una para mensajes personales y una para compras, noticias, medios sociales y otros servicios.

Repase las normas de privacidad y seleccione no participar en listas de distribución. Antes de entregar su dirección de email a una página en la Internet, investigue la norma de privacidad para saber si les permiten compartirla con otros, y reconsidere antes de proporcionarles su información. Adicionalmente, busque cajillas que hayan sido marcadas automáticamente indicando que usted quiere recibir actualizaciones por correo electrónico de la empresa y sus socios. Quizás puede seleccionar no recibir estos mensajes por correo electrónico.

Reduzca el Correo Electrónico Basura para Todos

Los que envían correo basura en la Internet buscan computadoras que no están protegidas con programas de seguridad actualizados. Al encontrar computadoras desprotegidas, intentan instalar programas maliciosos en la computadora para poder contralar las computadoras.

Los que envían correo basura usan una cadena de miles de computadoras infectadas – llamadas un “botnet” – para enviar millones de mensajes por correo electrónico a la misma vez. Millones de computadoras en hogares son parte de los botnets, y la mayoría del correo basura es enviado por estos botnets.

No permita que usen su computadora.

Usted puede tomar pasos para disminuir las oportunidades para que su computadora se infectada y usad para enviar correo basura.

Actualice sus programas. Mantenga todos sus programas – incluyendo su sistema operativo, navegador de Internet y otros programas de su computadora – actualizados para proteger contra las amenazas más nuevas. Es buena idea asignar a sus programas para que obtengan actualizaciones automáticamente.

Use un buen programa antivirus. Asegúrese de tener un buen programa antivirus instalado en su computadora, y que está recibiendo actualizaciones periódicamente.

Tome precaución al abrir anexos en mensajes de correo electrónico. No abra un adjunto de un mensaje de correo electrónico – aún si es de un amigo o pariente – al menos que lo estaba anticipando o sabe lo que es.

Descargue programas solo de páginas en la Internet que usted conoce y puede confiar. Puede ser tentador descargar programas gratis, pero considere que estos programas pueden tener programas maliciosos.

Para Presentar una Queja de Mensajes Basura por Correo Electrónico

Llene una queja con nosotros.

También puede reportar correo basura ante la Comisión Federal de Comercio simplemente remitiendo el correo basura directamente a [email protected].