Top 10 Online Scams That People Still Fall For

According to a study, 63% of Americans have experienced being the victim of an online scam from someone they have not met. That is why Information Security Analysts is a booming career with a 32% job outlook for the year 2018-2028. They help the security of the information system of people and companies from cyberattacks. It is sometimes hard to tell whether the message you received or the website you visited online is legitimate or not. In this article, Skill Success reviews the top 10 online scams that people still fall for, and here is the list:

1. Facebook fake account scams

Facebook is a great way to reach millions of people. However, this is also a great tool for fraudsters to steal millions of dollars from their victims. According to the Community Standards Enforcement Report, 1.7 billion fake Facebook accounts were disabled in the first quarter of 2020 to prevent scammers from causing harm to unsuspecting users.

Some scammers copy a person’s name, profile picture, and other basic information from the original Facebook account to create another account. The scammers then use the fake account to scam other people for money.

2. Phishing scams

This is an online scheme where the scammer attempts to lure or trick a victim into providing sensitive information, such as bank account numbers, credit card information, usernames, passwords, and more. 

Usually, scammers send you an email, including a link that looks like it is from a legitimate company. When you click the link and fill out the online form, the information you have provided will go straight to the scammers who will use it to gain access to your accounts.

Open Web Application Security Project: Forgery And Phishing is a Skill Success scam prevention online course in which you will learn how phishing emails works and how you can detect and avoid it.

3. Online romance scams

There are a lot of people nowadays who use dating apps and websites to meet others. According to statistics, there are 30.4 million online dating users in the U.S. in 2019. 61% of those respondents answered that the reason why they use online dating sites and apps is to meet people who share the same interest and hobbies.

Online romance scammers use fake accounts and establish a relationship with their victims by building trust. Some signs that the person you are dating online is a scammer include: professing their love quickly and asking for money from you.

4. Crowdfunding scams

Scammers set up a crowdfunding page or charity website and even use crowdfunding platforms to get support or ask a small amount of money. They can use natural disasters or a person in need to convince their victims to share their links to social media and donate money. If you click their link and use your bank card to donate money, they can use your bank account details to steal from you.

5. Scareware pop-up

Kaspersky defines scareware as “malicious software that tricks computer users into visiting malware-infected websites.” It is a warning sign that pops up on your screen warning that the site you have visited is infected with viruses and that you need to download their anti-virus software, what you will actually download is the malware that is intended to steal your personal data.

6. Fake free Wifi hotspots

There are several public places that offer free Wifi hotspots. However, scammers are smart enough to create fake free Wifi hotspots when it is actually a computer-to-computer network to lure victims. As you feel safe using the Internet, the scammers, on the other hand, can see everything that you do because you are, in fact, using the Internet through their computer’s connection.  

7. Bogus shopping websites

There are tons of reasons why people shop online, but the top two reasons are convenience, and you will find products at better prices. However, there are websites that offer special deals that seem too good to be true. Online shoppers must be wary of these sites as most probably, these are bogus shopping websites. When you buy an item, the one you will receive might be fake,not in good condition, or worse, you will not receive the item at all.

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8. Unexpected winnings scams

Same as phishing scams, you will receive a message congratulating you or informing you that you have won a prize. And in order for you to claim the prize, you must pay a small fee. The “fee” is often for government taxes, bank transaction fees, or courier charges. Sometimes, scammers ask for your bank account and personal information to send the prize to you. But the main purpose of this is to steal money from you or use your identity for illegal transactions.

9. Cyber extortion scam

Cyber extortion is an Internet crime in which the scammer threatens to embarrass or injure its victim with a demand for ransom. The scammer hacks the victim’s computer network, hardware, and software to acquire sensitive information. They then use those for blackmails until you meet their demands. There are also some instances when the scammer pretends they have a copy of your sensitive file when, in fact, they did not actually hack the victim’s computer.  

10. Overpayment scams

This type of scam is when somebody pretends they have made a purchase from your online business and asks for a refund. The scammer would say that they have sent a payment larger than the agreed amount for the item that you are selling. They either make payments through cheque, credit/debit card, PayPal, etc. The scammer will then contact you, making fake excuses, and asking for a refund. They might also include a fake receipt of purchase so that you would send them the money, only to find out that the receipt is fake or the cheque has bounced.

Protect yourself from being scammed. You should always be aware and alert that scammers are out there and target people of all backgrounds. Here are some of the things that you can do to stay ahead of scammers.

  • Do research to know who you are dealing with.
  • Delete or do not open suspicious links, attachments, messages, and pop-up windows.
  • Keep your personal data secure.
  • Use a strong password that would be difficult for others to guess.
  • Secure your mobile devices and computers.
  • Do not give away money or account details to anyone you don’t know.
  • Be careful when shopping online.

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