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8 most common internet scams: how to avoid them!

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In case you don’t know the 8 most common internet scams I suggest you read this article to avoid them.

Unfortunately, many people of all ages get fooled every year in America, as this CNBC video says.

New data shows that the FTC received 2.2 million consumer fraud reports in 2020.

Compared to 2019 they suffered scams for 1.5 billion more.

Online shopping also accounted for approximately $ 246 million in consumer reported losses. (1*)

Also, you have to pay attention to some online trading platforms because they are deceptive.

Just think of how many fake sites are constantly advertising this type of business today …

Their technique is to attract people by advertising stellar and immediate earnings.

Too bad that at the end of the day the poor wretches who “fell into the trap” practically wasted their money.

However, the authorities have managed to shut down many of these scam sites.

Other techniques consist of attempting to attack computers, operating programs, and apps to steal personal data.

For example, via Survey Scam, criminals send you a survey asking for your input.

Inside there will be a link and once you click on it, malware or spyware will be installed on your computer.

Then, through these, the scammers will collect your data, financial information and can spy on you at any time.

To avoid this, never open this type of email, not even click on the link inside, unless you have specifically asked to participate in some survey.

But now let’s start with a detailed list of the major online scams.

 

1. Credit Card Scams

Be-careful-about-disclosing-your-credit-card-details

It is the most frequent type of fraud reported in 2020, according to the Federal Trade Commission. (2*)

If you happen to see a message asking you to enter your card details and your name …

… Either because an investigation is ongoing or for added security and 1000 more excuses, you can rest assured that this is a scam.

No bank, law enforcement, etc., is authorized to request this type of information.

Hackers may manage to steal your data (identity theft), as well as financial ones.

This is even more serious than credit card data theft because criminals can open bank accounts and make loans on your behalf.

The worst thing is that it takes years to clear any outstanding debts on your behalf and who knows how many other wrongdoings …

According to a 2020 identity theft study conducted by Javelin Research, scammers prefer to “steal someone’s identity” to access savings accounts rather than forge credit cards.

Synthetic identity fraud is now on the rise in 2021, as is the acquisition of investment accounts instead of just checking and savings accounts.

Also, pay close attention to anyone who offers you a reduction in the interest rate on your credit card.

This all occurs when a stranger calls you and says his company has special relationships with card issuers and therefore can help you get lower interest rates.

If you give your credit card information to one of these companies, you run a higher risk of being involved in other types of scams.

For example, someone may be making fraudulent purchases using your card number.

 

How to protect yourself from credit card scams

Credit-Card-Fraud-Prevention

To protect sensitive data in financial management, safer methods must be adopted.

These are some simple prevention tips:

 

Don’t use unsafe websites: Always check the site address bar to make sure there is a padlock. If there is a triangle with an exclamation point in its place, do not enter.

 

Do not save the card data online: when I buy on Amazon I also make this mistake, that is, I save the data of my prepaid card, although I must say that I charge the necessary amount for each purchase.

It would be safer to type in your card number and password each time to avoid fraud.

If-you-post-sensitiv-information-on-social-media-you-can-be-the-victim-of-a-scam

Avoid posting sensitive information on social media: even here it’s full of bad guys trying to extract personal information.

Most of the time to get what they want they use manipulation techniques where they promise discount coupons or special offers.

If you click on these promotional links, scammers can locate what they need … (Sometimes this can happen simply by filling out a survey.)

Once they get clues about your life, they use them to try to figure out what your password is (via dates of birth, your dog’s name, etc.) to access checking accounts, credit cards, and more.

 

Don’t trust public Wi-Fi too much, as you’ll be more vulnerable to hackers – these networks are often unencrypted.

So when you make a payment or any other transaction, hackers could be lurking and stealing your data, card number, pin, and so on.

 

Beware of phishing scams: they happen in various ways, by e-mail, telephone, SMS, or regular mail. The goal is to steal your financial information.

 

Be on the lookout for skimmers: thieves often use a device called a skimmer to steal your credit card information.

The latter is hidden on ATMs and fuel pumps and “pulls” the data from the magnetic stripe on the back of the card.

To avoid this, always check for signs of tampering each time you pay for gas at the pump by credit card.

 

Always use a password that is difficult to remember. (Not too easy like 1111)

One tip for keeping track of all your complicated passwords is to use a password manager. (For example LastPass)

 

Increase security with a virtual credit card number: if your card issuer offers this service, use it.

In practice it works like this: for online purchases, you will not use your real card number, but virtual.

In this case, no hacker can trace the original data

 

Check your transactions periodically to see if anything is wrong.

 

2. Phishing scams (by email)

They consist of sending messages that have the purpose of trying to obtain the victim’s data by deception.

Imagine that people fall into the trap and enter their bank details! …

But they don’t stop there …

 

… many of these scammers ask (obviously with the help of sensational lies!) also other data, for example, those of social networks and others…

So, if you happen to see emails that the sender is a seemingly reputable bank or company, pay attention to the link they have within the message.

This is because once you click it you will end up on a webspace, which may seem like the source you believe in, but in reality, it is all false.

Once you get to this point you will be asked to enter your email, password, account number, credit card, etc.

Problems arise here !!

Phishing scams have steadily increased due to the coronavirus.

Many people have reported receiving an email allegedly from the NHS, saying they can book an appointment to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine.

Cyber ​​scammers rely on the fact that everything (the vaccine reservation) is communicated directly by the NHS.

If these criminals are successful, they will consequently have access to the victim’s personal and other data.

 

 

>>If you are looking for a serious opportunity that is not the usual scam to extort money from your pocket, visit this page. <<

 

 

2. How to avoid phishing scams

 

  • First, you need to protect your computer by using security software and set it to auto-update so that it can deal with any security threats.
  • Use multi-factor authentication to protect your accounts. Here you will be prompted for two or more login credentials.
  • As for the protection of mobile devices from any security threats, make sure that automatic software update is always set.
  • Back up your data by making sure it’s not connected to your home network. Do this on your phone too.

I take this opportunity to tell you about “Graphus” because it is considered one of the best defense platforms against simple phishing.

Be aware that some security tools are somewhat outdated and cannot protect you or your business from email threats.

(For example, against attacks that bypass technical controls such as Office 365 security, G Suite security, and Secure Email Gateway.)

Instead, Graphic is a powerful and automated platform and provides three levels of complete email security and you are safe from these types of attacks.

 

3. You have won a prize!

Be-wary-of-messages-that-contain-prize-winnings-without-entering-a-contest

How many times have you seen a message in your inbox saying “you have won a prize!”

Too bad that immediately after you are asked to pay small commissions to collect it.

For example, you receive an email informing you that you have just won a gift card, $ 40,000 or $ 1 million.

In many cases when you receive this type of message, it happens that when you log into the site by entering your details, you will also be asked to register for “trial offers”, where you will be charged sums of money each month.

This is “the least of the evils” because these scammers could sell your information to identity thieves.

But the criminals’ fantasy does not stop there, because the fake prizes could be jewels, a trip to exotic places.

Either way, legitimate lotteries are free and random.

Remember that it is illegal to ask you to pay or buy something to claim a prize or to increase your chances of winning.

The promoters of the prizes must disclose the odds of winning, the value, or the nature of the prizes.

They are also required to tell you the terms and conditions for redeeming a reward.

Membership is generally free and you don’t have to pay to participate.

Keep in mind that it is virtually impossible to win a prize without having even entered a contest or drawing.

They may ask you to transfer money to another well-known company, but in a foreign country, to get the reward.

Do not do it!

Because once the money has been sent, it is no longer traceable or recoverable.

Many times the same type of email is sent to many people around the world.

If you don’t remember seeing or entering that contest or visiting a particular site, etc., it means it’s a scam.

 

How to spot scams with fake rewards

When you see a spam message offering you a prize, gift, or something for free, don’t click any links and don’t reply.

Otherwise, you risk these scammers installing malware on your computer to steal your personal information.

To avoid this type of scam, do some research when you receive messages containing “probable” winnings….

Just type the name of the company, service, or product into Google plus the words “scam” or “complaint”.

In many cases, you already find confirmation that you are facing a scam.

Or you can report it to your local consumer protection office.

Many of these scams are also reported to the FTC.

And finally, be wary of all the pressures that tell you to act now so as not to miss a prize.

Many scammers use the psychological lever of time to deceive you.

 

 

>> READ ALSO HOW TO REPORT AN ONLINE SCAM <<

 

 

4. Personal Loan Scams

Beware-of-personal-loans-that-require-prepayment

One fine day you receive a loan offer from a bank and you don’t have to send any documents, as these scammers claim they already have all your data in the database.

The “only thing” that is required of you is the cost of releasing the file.

In the United States, it is illegal to promise a loan and ask for a prepayment before issuance.

When you receive an email or visit a website with a personal loan offer with a low or zero interest rate and no credit check, you are almost certainly in the middle of a scam …

… And surely when you click on the link you will be directed to a website other than that of the real company.

In most cases, these are fast-approving loan offers, with a very low-interest rate and a guaranteed right of withdrawal.

On the surface, it may seem true, but it is not, because the scammer will ask you for a commission of money upfront for the loan.

But the worst part is that you will have to provide your confidential information, thus risking identity theft.

Other signs that will make you feel it is a scam are:

  • These “ghost lenders” guarantee you the cash outlay even if you have been a bad payer in the past.
  • You will be given a very long time (usually a year) before you start paying the loan installments.

 

Tips and advice for avoiding a loan scam

 

  • Always remember that the most legitimate loans do not require an upfront payment.
  • Financial companies or any legitimate lender must verify your credit status before loan approval.
  • Never submit your bank details, credit card number, social security, or bank account details via websites whose email you don’t know.

 

Covid-19 scams

During the period of the pandemic, covid-19-related scams (mostly related to vacations, travel, online shopping, fake text messages, and impostor scams) affected more than 18,000 Americans for a total of $ 13.4 million since the beginning of the year 2020, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

This data was collected based on 18,235 reports related to Covid-19 that the agency received from consumers since January 1, via a blog post by a chief data analyst in the FTC’s Response Division and Consumer Operations. (3*)

Avoid Covid-19 scams

To avoid these scams related to the pandemic period, remember that the government will never call to ask for your social security number, money, or personal and financial information.

Neither the companies nor the government will ask you to pay, deposit money via Money Gram or Western Union.

 

5. The Nigerian scam

419-fraud

This type of scam, also known as prepayment fraud or 419 fraud, can be devised by a person who pretends to be very rich. (4*)

But the best part comes now because it makes you believe that he / she has to get a lot of money from a banking institution.

The “419” part of the name derives from the section of the Nigerian Penal Code that prohibits its practice.

These types of scams now come from all over the world.

Through Facebook, Instagram, an email, or a normal message, they ask you for help to be able to withdraw money, offering you a large reward, but in the meantime they make you pay fake legal fees.

Sometimes they even ask for more money due to “constant transfer problems”.

Many people “fell in love with this scam” and paid large sums multiple times without obviously ever seeing a dime.

One sensational case of a Nigerian scam was that of an entrepreneur who ran a group of companies called the Invictus Group.

From 2015 to 2019, he and his co-conspirators managed to obtain the credentials of numerous victims.

One of these was Unatrac Holding Ltd., the UK subsidiary of the American heavy machinery manufacturer Caterpillar.

The scam totals nearly $ 11 million.

The story began with a phishing email, received from Unatrac, which contained a link that once clicked redirected it to a phishing site designed to look like a legitimate Microsoft Office365 login page.

The company then unknowingly entered their login credentials into the fake webpage, and as you can easily imagine, the cybercriminals had full access to his account and credentials.

But this is just one of many cases because other well-positioned companies have been scammed. (5*)

Over the years, Nigerian scams have evolved to become more sophisticated.

It is now certain that cybercriminals operating in Nigeria have undertaken a considerable number of corporate email compromise attacks.

In 2019 alone, 92,000 such attacks were carried out and are still on the rise. (6*)

Also, read this article from The United States Department of Justice in which a Nigerian romantic scam was discovered.

 

How to protect yourself from Nigerian scams

 

  • Never make any kind of prepayment.
  • Do not send money or provide a bank account or credit card details. Not even photos or copies of personal documents to strangers.
  • When they ask you to transfer money on behalf of a third party, it can be a money-laundering operation. Attention, because it is a criminal offense!
  • Certify the identity of the person or entity who contacted you by calling them directly or by searching the Internet. Many scams are discovered in this way.

 

6. Hitman Scam

Fake-email-threats-to-extort-money

This type of scam is very common;

This could be receiving emails asking for an early ransom to be paid, based on threats of the kidnapping of a loved one.

To convince you that all of this is true, they give you private information about the person who will be kidnapped. (They could have taken them from Social, stolen from some online accounts …)

Or they could be extortion emails from a fake hitman claiming that someone wants to eliminate the reader in exchange for a sum of money.

The scam is that the victim will have to pay a fraction of the agreed sum, to revoke everything.

The content of the emails is written in poor English and grammar.

Inside it is said that an anonymous guy searched for a hitman on the site to “eliminate” someone instantly and painlessly.

The sender usually claims to be the owner of a Dark Web site that offers different types of paid services.

These include calling the hitman in exchange for $ 4,000 in bitcoin and also promising that the hitman himself will be eliminated.

Furthermore, they also urgently ask you to pay, telling you that you have little time to cancel the hit.

How to avoid the Hitman scam

Should you receive such an email, you may immediately notice that it is full of spelling and grammar errors. Either way, do this:

  • Don’t reply to the message or click on anything in it.
  • Avoid opening or downloading attachments
  • Don’t be afraid that someone will hurt you, not even a loved one, and therefore don’t pay any ransom.
  • For no reason, you must not provide your financial information (bank account, cards, etc.)

If you suspect this extortion attempt is happening to you, report the incident to the local police via a non-emergency number.

Or you can submit a report to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

 

7. Hijacked Facebook Account Scam

Example-of-a-fake-notification-from-Facebook

In this type of scam, users receive mass emails threatening the copyright infringement ban.

The goal is to steal the victim’s login credentials.

You can understand, therefore, that someone who accesses your profile, your data can do anything on your behalf …

This is why I want to emphasize how important it is to keep usernames, passwords … and make updates regularly.

The messages contain information such as:

“Your Facebook account has been disabled for violating the Facebook Terms.

“If you believe this decision is incorrect, you can appeal at this link.”

And this is where the problems arise!

Because whoever receives such a message, unaware of the scam, clicks on the link that for example leads to a notice on copyright infringement of the music …

.. And so far it may all seem true as well as the page address which looks like facebook.com.

A-fake-Facebook.com-page

Also, the notification page contains a link to an appeal form!

But the “cool” comes now because you will be asked to enter your full name, your username, and your password.

Don't-put-your-password-here

And there you are because now the cybercriminals have taken control of your Facebook account and can do whatever they want!

Even the most experienced users have fallen into this trap because the messages are well written, designed, and arrive in your main mail also tricking the spam filter.

 

How to prevent your Facebook account from being stolen

 

  • Under no circumstances should you follow links in suspicious emails.
  • Always log into your account by typing the URL into the browser address bar or via the app.
  • Check the sender’s address before clicking links in emails. Facebook usually never sends notifications from non-Facebook mail domains.
  • Check if you find any strange characters or errors in the text of the email message. If so, be careful!
  • You should never enter your login details on third-party pages that are not owned by Facebook. If this happened to you, you need to contact customer service immediately.
  • Use Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect yourself from malware, data collection, alert you if you try to open a suspicious page and other threats …

 

8. Fake antivirus software

 

These are the scam attempts that I have seen many times.

A pop-up ad appears on the screen that warns that your computer is infected with one or more viruses and they rush you to purchase and download fake antivirus software to eliminate the problem.

When this happens, you have been hit by a scareware attack, which is a scam in which cybercriminals, in addition to manipulating you to immediately purchase such fake software, will cause you further harm.

What I am about to tell you is that they will also attempt to steal access to your computer and credit card information.

If you are wondering how this is possible I’ll explain it to you right away!

Basically, instead of installing antivirus, these scammers will install malware on your computer, through which they can send fake emails in your name, access your files or monitor your online activity.

Furthermore, the installed software may also slow down your computer, prevent you from installing real security software, and fill your screen with pop-up ads.

In other cases, you will also be asked to upgrade to a more expensive version, which does not exist! “

It can also happen that some forms of scareware manage to disable the existing antivirus program on your computer.

 

How to avoid online scareware

 

  • Fortunately, you can avoid this by keeping your computer’s programs up-to-date and quickly approving browser updates.
  • Before clicking on the links or “download” button in the popup, do a Google search to locate the company behind that popup that appeared to you. This way you can see if it exists or if it is a scam.
  • Install real antivirus software and always keep it updated whenever possible. (One of the best is Norton) If you don’t know about it, ask an expert or visit this page.
  • Keep the popup blocker turned on to prevent your screen from filling up with advertisements for fake antivirus programs.

 

 

NO TO EASY MONEY!

Don’t look for easy earnings, because they don’t exist, at least in a legal way!

Take a look at another page, to understand what legitimate jobs are online.

 

 

Conclusion

There are so many scams online …

In the next articles, I will describe others!

For example, there are emails from beautiful Russian women extorting money from you by telling you that they are looking for a husband and that I want to travel to your country to marry you.

The problem is that you have to pay for airfare and airport taxes, but then you won’t see anyone….

Or there are donation request scams that can have thousands of reasons.

To avoid these 2 scam cases, don’t open this type of email because they have unknown senders or if you accidentally open it, now that you know, don’t even start the conversation.

Furthermore, these cybercriminals could also be lurking on social media, so be very careful!

Remember the 8 most common internet scams you’ve seen today so you know how to recognize them and thus avoid them in the future.

Have you ever been the victim of an online scam?

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