How to Spot a Modern-Day Conman and Avoid Scams in 2023 

We’re all familiar with the chaotic, flashing boxes that appear uninvited on your laptop’s screen. They scream in capital letters that you are a lucky, one thousandth website visitor and have won a thousand pounds as a reward. What’s the catch? There is none. Simply add in your bank details, and your money will be en route. As a response, we tend to scoff and think, “how can anyone fall for that?” These types of scams are the ones we have grown well accustomed to and are able to spot a mile away. However, these scams are also outdated. The modern-day versions are much more subtle, deceiving, and unsuspecting. So how can you keep your pockets safe online in this day and age? Here’s our guide to spotting a modern-day conman and avoiding scams in 2023.

Online Dating Scams

You may have heard of the Tinder Swindler. If not, this was the name given to a deceiving conman who scammed a handful of women out of more than 10 million USD collectively. Due to his sneaky behaviour and shocking tactics, the tales of his victims were compiled into a Netflix documentary, one which quickly topped the must-watch lists. While this may have been a scandalous state of affairs, catfishing is nothing new, and the rise of online dating scams is a concern for many. If you want to be sure that the person you’re building a connection with is trying to steal your heart, not your bank details, we are here to help you spot any potential red flags.


Known as the most common form of cybercrime, phishing is a scam that can trick even the tech-savviest. At a glance, some emails that make it to your inbox can appear to be from your favourite brand, your bank, or in targeted cases known as spear phishing, even your trusted work colleague. No matter what kind of disguise the conman wears, there will always be a few signs that will give them away. Look out for any grammatical or spelling errors, check the domain name of the sender, and always, we repeat, always be suspicious of links.

Fake Shops

When the usual thrill of online shopping is replaced with a niggling feeling that you’ve just paid for an imaginary pair of shoes, you may have encountered a fake shop. Unfortunately, fake shops are another scamming tactic that’s becoming more common, especially around Christmas and Black Friday. Before pressing purchase, take a look at the URL. Most well-established brands have simple website addresses that consist of the brand’s name alone. Watch out for any variations, especially when they’re accompanied by products offered for a fraction of their usual price. On the other hand, if you’re unfamiliar with the brand’s name or it is your first time purchasing with them, always search for reviews and double-check that the URL starts with “HTTPS,” not “HTTP.” That “S” stands for “secure,” and without it, that website shouldn’t be trusted.

To conclude, it can be said that spotting a scammer is easier said than done. However, the trick is to approach sharing details online with the utmost caution. Watch out for those red flags, trust any feelings of uncertainty and remember, if it seems too good to be true- it usually is!

Josie Wilkins

Josie is a Journalism graduate from Galway, Ireland. In her free time, she writes for her blog, Naturally Fuelled (@josiewilkins on instagram). When she isn't writing, she enjoys playing the one song she knows on the piano, 'I Giorni', saving the postman from her aggressive Shorkie, and defending brussels sprouts as an all-year-round snack!