Have you come across someone who is a victim of a scam? Some people have lost sensitive data while others life savings and it is not a good experience. Scammers work on your physiology. They will exploit a need you have either as an individual or known human needs. Scams are either face to face or through communications gadget like phones, computers.
Several scams have been around for ages while others have been evolving. Scammers target individuals as well as companies. Victims range from youth, children, adults, employees, board, managers etc.
Identity theft Fraud
Thieves will benefit from your stolen data. When scammers have very little information about you, they will use it to get the rest that is enough to commit a crime. Identity scam is a fraud that can happen to anybody and will have a lasting effect on your reputation or even credit scores. People will steal your identity using various other scams available and use it to take all your money, property or even commit a crime. You should safeguard your Personal Identifiable Information at all costs.
Online banking fraud
Internet fraud is an identity theft scam that has been made possible through phishing. Banks have online banking as a convenient alternative. Others have apps. Most of us will leave our passwords saved on devices to sign up next time we log in. this is a dangerous trend for we can lose our money anytime a criminal gets hold of our computer.
Account cancellation scams
You may have received an email claiming that your account is about to be closed unless you update your information. The senders of these messages are only interested in identity theft.
Money mule scams
We are all so happy to fill in forms and give information to win something or to get something for free. Most of this is genuine marketing. Some others collect as much data as they can from your computer, social media pages. They steal your identity, open an account with your name and use that account to send illegal money. These criminals may even use your existing account with or without your knowledge.
Face to face scams
Fraudsters have been there for a long time. They have just got better with technology. We have people who showed up at our doorsteps pretending to be from utility companies and wanted to fix something, but they were all fake. Their interest is to swindle money. We have those who wait for you at a bank ATM. They install gadgets to the ATM to crone your card. They then copy your PIN either physically or using a preinstalled camera. Others distract you when you are in the process of withdrawing money. Once you pay attention, their partners collect your money. We have scammers who also peep at your pin.
Just as online opportunities are expanding, scammers are also escalating their operations and casting their nets wider. They are also becoming very innovative. The nature of the crime is difficult to follow since it may involve different countries with different laws and outside one’s jurisdiction. Online scams come in many forms.
Most scams aim at separating you from your money. Scammers use different formulas to do that. You have to not only keep your money safe but also your valuable information.
Scams and Phishing
Phishing is a common technique used by criminals to deceive their victims. The crime involves mimicking known and famous organizations. Crooks register domains in the names and logos of these organization then send you a link on the email. The fraudsters mostly want to steal your details including name, phone number, address, social security number, bank account number or credit card. Most data stolen through phishing leads to financial fraud. Those who use PayPal are familiar with scammers sending a deceptive link that leads you to a page that looks exactly like the PayPal login page. If you fill in on the login credentials, you stand to lose money from your account to PayPal scammers. Scam with PayPal has made people lose money.
To prevent yourself from this kind of scam, you will need to scrutinize emails that send you any link and also web address of those links.
Online dating scams
The year 2020 was not easy for dating with all the lockdowns and restrictions. Many marriages broke during this time. Some people now feel lonely without that work environment. However, the desire to love and be loved is natural and is still with us. Dating scams intensified during this period. What is a dating scam? Someone will set up a profile on a dating site that is too good. The scammers have beautiful or handsome pictures, a great personal profile with a fun career. You will come and befriend them or, they befriend you. They take time to gain your trust. When you let guard down, they now can take advantage of you in several ways. They may ask you to take the relationship off the dating site to a site they can control you without scrutiny. There they will collect your personal information which they can easily use against you.
Scammers will pretend they are from a legitimate organisation. they will advertise for jobs. when you apply they will steal your information. They may also ask you for payment to get to the next stage of the interview. You may also pass the interview. They will tell you to pay some fees for medical, Visa. These fraudsters are out to exploit the desperation of joblessness that is in the market after covid.
Technical support scams
The scam involves people calling you to tell you they are technical support technicians and would like to help you with some problems you have with hardware or software. They may request to access your computer and operate it remotely or even install a malware (malicious software) to your computer. We store most of our information online. They may steal your personally identifiable information or even access sensitive data.
Computer software fraud is part of technical support fraud where you get a pop up telling you that you have a problem with your computer or a cold call. The scammers con you in the name of offering support.
The advance-fee scam involves promising you a large sum of money to someone. You, however, have to part with some money to process amount. When exactly do you pay for goods and services?
Online Shopping scams
Most businesses are rushing to have their businesses online. Social media sites have also started online shops on their sites to take advantage of the large pool of account holders. Scammers have also started selling online. The difference is that they don’t deliver. Some scammers will show you photos of beautiful goods for amazing deals. You will get different quality to what you ordered. In some instances, you may not receive anything at all. You will need to think twice. Check similar goods from other shops and compare prices. Also, check whether the reviews look genuine before purchasing. If you are shopping on a trusted site, don’t be diverted outside the platform. Some people have lost through amazon scams.
Gift card scams are also very popular with scammers because they don’t leave evidence trail. Most gift cards will not be useful outside the site. For example, you cannot use amazon gift cards to pay for gifts outside amazon.
Scammers from popular shopping platforms will call you to urgently update your information before you lose your account or on great offers. All they are interested in is either your personal information or your money.
Celebrity gossip scams
Celebrity gossip scams have catchy phrases about your favourite celebrity. These are click baits that have stories that may differ from the headline. Some investors use names of known famous people to lure victims and sell fake investments or products. Others impersonate celebrities on social media to gain followers whom they con. There are thousands of “celebrity-endorsed” scams online.
Hopefully, life gets to normal, your favourite matches and shows will be back and on-demand. We may want to go to that match or popular show. Beware of people selling fake tickets for popular shows at a much-discounted price. You will not be allowed into the venue. Beware of people who tell you they will have the tickets at the gate. Unless you are sure the promoter is legit, you may end up stranded.
When looking for holiday packages, some may be too good to be true. Your dream destination at a quarter the price could be a scam. They advertise holiday destinations that do not exist on social media or platforms. Sometimes the hotels are there but what is in the photos is different from what is on offer.
Courier fraud involves victims who receive calls by persons claiming to be police officers, courier companies and banks. The victims lose money, credit and debit cards and passwords. Courier and shipping scams take advantage of the expanding online market where businesses move goods from one place to place. They will cheat that they have got you a parcel that you have but need money to clear. Courier fraud may also involve cheap courier company.
Lottery and competition Scams
You will receive a message telling you that you have won but. You may give your information trying to redeem the price. They may even ask for facilitation fee these scammers mimic a popular lottery. Sometimes they tell you that your profile has won some lottery. Some may be random. Others have taken the time to study your interest.
Bank Card Fraud and credit card Scam
There are several ways criminals can get to your card. You may try buying something online through an
Social media scams
Social media has also become a scammer’s haven. Some fraudsters will copy your login page and send you a replica to log in. By clicking on the link and putting your login credentials, they hack your account and take charge of your contacts. They may use your page to spam, or send distress calls and messages to your followers and obtain money.
Job recruitment Scams
The scam targets those that so many people those looking for online jobs and those looking for long term jobs. The criminals take advantage of the need for someone to have a job or even a better job. Those who are doing online jobs have lost a few times. The criminals will ask you to get out of the platform into Facebook, email or Skype. They can now manipulate you. Some will promise you a lot of money but will need you to have some security before to access the job. Others will use the opportunity to get as much personal information as possible and, use it to commit crimes. Some jobs scams
Has anyone tried to get your personal information or bank details? Sometimes all the scammer needs are the information on your social media account. They are bright enough to gather the rest. They will even call your bank pretending to be you and from a number that crones yours, get your number and take control of your account. Mule accounts are accounts used to launder crime money. Your account can transfer money from drug trafficking, prostitution, corruption. That way, they clean their money through you.
Paid surveys scams
Several paid surveys are legitimate and genuine with some giving real money. Other paid surveys are there to harvest identities since most of the respondents are honest. Some of the paid surveys do not deliver on their promises.
You may part with money when with a promise of favourable financial opportunity. In some cases, the scammers may set up a temporary office where the victims they con online can go and verify the physical location. Forex scams involve scammers claiming to get you crazy investments returns when you invest with them. Other types of scams are offshore investment scams.
Work from home scam
Many people are now looking or work from home opportunities. It is now an acceptable mode of work in different parts of the world. It also offers flexibility with less commuting time. Criminals will put adverts with irresistible work from home opportunities. Employers ask you to work but get away without paying. Others will use the opportunity to ask you to pay for some documents or registration. Some fraudsters will use the opportunity to steal your identity.
Contactless card fraud
contactless cards have information transmitted wirelessly and can also be tracked by scammers.
How can scams be avoided?
Many are asking how to avoid scams. There are different ways. Scam awareness amongst your children at home and your employees at the workplace as often as possible. Safety is not an activity but a lifestyle.
Scams, who to report to
If you detect any scam, first report to the organization that the people are using. If it is a banking fraud, inform your bank immediately. At workplace report to the IT department or your line manager to prevent the others from being prey. If you encounter a scammer on a dating site, business site or even social media site, report immediately for the scammers to be blocked.
Frequently answered questions (FAQs)
Who do the scams target?
Some scammers can target anyone randomly, while others take a lot of time to plan and target individuals and companies. They also target people of all ages. Celebrities and politicians are victims.
Are scams illegal?
Scamming is illegal. You can report to authorities i. It is, however, sometimes difficult to prosecute crimes that are online due to jurisdiction challenges. Scammers in India can scam someone in Canada. That presents a real challenge.
Why scams are here to stay
The internet is evolving very fast, information technology is developing rapidly. Scammers are always ahead in development. In most cases, they are intelligent people who know but no proper job. In some cases, scammers are former employees of companies who designed systems and know them well.
Call Center Scam in India
There are scam call centres in India operating and defrauding people from America, Canada and other parts of the world. So far several have been discovered and busted, they keep changing tact and devising new techniques. The international centre of cybercrime makes it difficult to prosecute. The call Centers have led to massive financial losses for individuals, companies and elderly.
Can scams be done through text?
Scammers use text messages to send you links to messages containing malicious software that can install on your phone. Text messages are cheap to send and reach a lot of people. Criminals will send thousands of messages hoping to narrow down to a few people successful deals.
With the internet opening more doors and more people understanding technologies, our lives are less private. Exposure to scams is now higher. Jealously guard data whichever means necessary. It is easy to do business online but also very easy to lose online.