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To finalise the trade, the scammer asks the seller to forward this extra money to a “shipping company”.Unwittingly, the seller forwards money direct to the scammer (who promptly disappears).Typically, scammers post an advertisement on a social media site that reads “click here for a 0 gift card”.

But more scammers are using social media sites to spread malware and phish for information.Fake gift cards and survey scams account for more than half of all social media attacks.In reality, the account in question is fine, and the website is recording your login details for the scammers to use later.How to avoid them: How they work: One online trading scam targets people selling items such as cars via auction.How they work: Scammers use online dating sites to form relationships with people who are looking for love.

Once they’ve built up enough trust, the scammers begin asking for money “to pay medical expenses for a sick aunt” or some other ruse.

How they work: The standard computer-hacking scam used to begin with a spam email, which contained an intriguing link.

When recipients clicked on the link, it launched spyware on their computer.

How to avoid them: A scammer sends a spam letter to a list of people.

The scammer claims to be the representative of an estate or finance company – such as the “Chief Auditor of Lloyds Financial Services” – who is trying to track down the beneficiary of a will.

The seller receives an email purportedly from Pay Pal saying the money has been paid.