The Online Scams to Watch Out for in July

Conor Cawley

Just when you think you've got them all figured out, hackers and scammers come up with a new way to get a hold of your personal information. Fortunately, we've rounded up the latest online scams to look out for this July.

Considering the fact that only 17 percent of websites infected with malware have been blacklisted by search engines in 2018, keeping an eye out for online scams is more important than ever. While large scale hacks and data breaches make the headlines, it's more likely you'll be scammed with something as mundane as an email.

More on this – see our Round-Up of the Top Scams of 2018

The only way to make sure you don't get taken by one of these online scams is to know what they look like and how they work. Luckily, we've had our ears to the ground to make sure we can provide you with all the information you need to make sure your personal information remains private.

Keep in mind, if you come across any online scams, feel free to report them to the FTC here.

Vacation Rental Scams

Scammers are quite adept at taking advantage of high volume purchases, which is why this 4th of July, you need to be extra careful when it comes to vetting your vacation rental bookings.

How the scam works

With 4th of July celebrations underway, quality and inexpensive vacation rentals are in high demand. By way of fake listings that either don't exist or aren't for rent, this online scam takes your money for an online booking and simply disappears with it. Then, upon arrival at your vacation destination, you're left with the bill and no accommodations.

How to spot the scam

The easiest way to avoid being taken by this online scam is to simply verify that the address of the vacation rental in question firstly exists, and secondly, is actually for rent. If you can't find it on any other website, or it doesn't show up on Google Maps, it's probably a scam.

Another good tactic for spotting this and pretty much all scams is, “if it's too good to be true, it probably is.” If the price is shockingly low, if the amenities sound astoundingly high quality, or if the location is epically perfect, there's a pretty good chance it's a fake.

What to do

First of all, amidst all these vacation rental scams, it's best to avoid paying with pre-paid gift cards or wire transfers, as they will be impossible to get back in any form in the event it's a scam.

Additionally, don't be rushed into a decision. Scammers rely on the chaos of holiday weekends and low price mad grabs, and remaining calm and researching properly is the best way to make sure you don't get taken for a lot of money.

World Cup Ticket Scam

world cup soccer scam

The World Cup comes around every four years, and so do the scams. This international soccer tournament has tickets going for hundreds of dollars, and scammers take advantage of energetic fandom to score a pretty penny.

How the scam works

This scam often comes in the form of an enticing email that announces you as the winner of free World Cup tickets. However, once you start inputting your personal information or, God forbid, paying a fee to receive your prize, you'll realize that there is no World Cup game in your future.

How to spot the scam

This one is actually quite easy to spot as long as you don't fall for the above email. is the only legitimate source of tickets, but there are legitimate resellers and brokers out there. Unfortunately there is inherent risk when buying secondhand, so be wary!

What to do

Make sure to buy your tickets with a credit card so that, in the event they never arrive, you can dispute the charges. Additionally, verifying  secondhand sellers through reviews can give you a good idea of who you're buying from.

FTC Prizes Scam

This one comes directly from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), so you know it's a credible scam. Apparently, the FTC has had a few people show up at their office to claim a prize they won. However, much to their chagrin, they were informed that FTC has never given out prizes.

How the scam works

If you're a victim of this scam, you'll receive a letter or email from the “FTC” with the official seal. They'll insist you've won an outrageous amount of money and that you can claim it at the FTC offices, for a nominal fee, of course. As you soon discover, the prize does not exist and your “prize fee” is long gone.

How to spot the scam

According to its website, “the FTC does not certify or validate prizes. And we don’t call, email or write to ask you for money for any reason. So: if you get a letter like this, that’s a scam.” Plain and simple.

What to do

The FTC website summed up a few key tips for what to do when confronted with this and pretty much any other scam.

“If anybody asks you to pay them – or give your bank account or credit card number – to claim a prize, that’s a scam… And if anybody says you must pay by wiring money or buying a gift card, that’s a scam.”

Read more about 2018's worst online scams on TechCo

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Conor is the Senior Writer for For the last four years, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His extensive background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host tech-centric events like Startup Night at SXSW and the Timmy Awards for Tech in Motion. You can email Conor at