According to statistics, 1 of 10 Americans are exposed to online fraud. Whether you are a dating site user or just a Facebook visitor from time to time, you are still among those who are at risk of threats from scammers. To avoid falling prey to fraudsters’ cunning and deceptive tactics, you should learn a little more about their activities. That’s what our article is going to be about.
What Are Internet Scams?
Scams can happen in many different ways on the internet, using computers and mobile devices. Scammers use methods of social media, SMS on a mobile phone, fake tech support calls, phishing emails, and more. The purpose of these scams can be to steal a person’s credit card information, password and login credentials for an account, or even their identity.
Most Common Types of Online Scams
1. Phishing Emails, SMS, Calls, and Websites
Phishing is a cyber attack where scammers send spam messages to an unknown number of users to obtain confidential information or to earn money. These letters are mostly disguised as legitimate organizations or companies, which helps the fraudster gain confidence in his victim. Unfortunately, fraudulent scammers get what they want, which can either hijack your identity, get money from you or infect your PC with viruses. Yes, such fake emails may also contain malicious links or attachments, clicking on which you can distribute malware to your PC.
2. Romance Scams and Fake Online Dating Profiles
Love scams aren’t the new way to make money by cheating. Fraudsters forge their profiles on social media or online dating sites, hoping to gain confidence in the victim and engage in an affair. These scammers then use psychological tricks to create an emotional bond and profit from it. Unfortunately, these cheaters pretend to be victims who need money, and there’s no one to help them. In some cases, they even blackmail their victims on a permanent basis and demand a certain amount of money.
3. Online Shopping Scams
Shopping on the Internet is not dangerous by itself. But the fraudsters have also found traps that can steal data and money from users. They lower the prices of products and give them significant discounts to get users to buy them. There will be no problems with payment, but that does not guarantee that you’ll receive the goods from the description, or will receive at least something.
4. Cryptocurrency Scams
Approximately $14 billion was stolen from people through cryptocurrency scams in 2021, according to records. While some people have become millionaires by investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, such cryptocurrencies are also the home to many scams. Someone might trick you into giving them access to your online cryptocurrency wallet and steal your coins. Scammers might contact you with information about an upcoming Initial Coin Offering (ICO), and as the coin’s value increases, they quickly sell their coins at the highest point. Several years ago, social networks have been plagued with crypto scams, so be careful if you use this platform to find an investing idea.
5. Mobile Scams
Many fraudsters also attack mobile devices, for example, using malware or apps that look legitimate. These applications disintegrate malicious pop-ups, banners, through which other pests can spread and even steal confidential data. Another often target of mobile scams is installing spyware – to spy on you or just collect your personal details in order to spoof your identity in future.
How To Spot a Scammer: 4 Warning Signs
1. Use authority to build trust: Scammers always try to disguise themselves as an organization or company you know. This way, they have a chance that the attack will succeed. So be vigilant with someone who writes to you out of the blue. Beware of unexpected emails from serious organizations, it is better to go from the browser to the personal account of a company, bank and check if there are notifications for you.
2. Prey on your emotions: Whatever platform the fraudster tries to attack, he will always manipulate you. It can be a declaration of love and a request for help to sick children or older people. And the faster you trust him, the more successful his attack will be. So conclusion one – do not trust everything in the network.
3. Be threatening and aggressive: There are threats in addition to requests for assistance. The fraudster may threaten to steal your data or expose provocative photos and videos online in exchange for confidential data or money. They can also be presented by law enforcement to appear more convincing. It is important not to be afraid. Think about who can text you with such a threat and whether he has any provocative information about you.
4. Force you to use unusual payment options: Fraudsters use third-party payment options, which should alert you. They offer to pay through a fake payment system, with which they then receive user payment data. Sometimes, they send a link to the payment system you recognize, but the victim will switch to a phishing copy of this.