At this point, you’re probably familiar with the various ways scammers attempt to foil your best efforts at staying safe online. They try to convince you that a family member is in danger, that a company owes you money, or that you’re entitled to benefits from the government—but only if you send them a small payment first. They could even approach you on social media impersonating an old friend and ask for financial help. Fraud is a serious crime that can make you lose your hard-earned money, and private information and even lead to identity theft. Losses resulting from fraud are expected to reach $8 billion by 2024 – a rise of over 200% since 2016. It is very crucial to understand the various methods of online fraud so that you are able to avoid them and stay safe.
Top 2023 Online Scams & Frauds
Phishing email scams
According to a report from F-Secure, more than one-third of all security incidents start with phishing emails or malicious attachments sent to employees. Phishing scams continue to evolve and be a significant online threat for both users and organizations. In many cases, cybercriminals will send users messages/ emails trying to trick them into providing them with valuable and sensitive data (such as login credentials from a bank account, social network, work account, cloud storage etc.) Moreover, these emails will seem to come from an official source (like legitimate companies or brands, bank institutions or any other financial authority). The user will be redirected to a fake login access page that resembles the real website. If the user is not paying attention, they might end up revealing login credentials and other personal information. Scammers also try to create a sense of urgency by threatening victims with immediate loss or harm if they don’t comply with instructions. For more information on how to prevent phishing email scams, please contact IT Support Vermont.
Greeting card scams
Greeting card scams are a form of phishing that aims to trick users into giving up personal or financial information. These work because it’s human nature to be curious about gifts – even something seemingly as trivial as e-cards. Here’s how they work:
- Scammers will send emails with an attachment or link to a website. It may appear to come from a legitimate sender. The goal is to get you to click on the link or open the attachment and enter your personal information into fake forms so they can use it for identity theft.
- Never click on links in email, instant message, or chat messages—or even open attachments from unknown senders—unless you know who sent them and whether they’re safe.
Bank loan or credit card scam
Beware of unsolicited offers of loans or credit cards. If you receive an unsolicited offer for a loan or credit card and you’re not sure whether it’s genuine, don’t provide your personal or banking details. Do not transfer any money to anyone that has contacted you, even if they say the money will be transferred back to you. Contact your bank if you think that you have been scammed by someone who contacted them directly.
Fake antivirus software
Fake antivirus software is a scam that uses fake pop-ups to prompt you to pay a fee to remove “virus” infections. The software installs itself and then attempts to trick you into paying for what they claim are computer errors or viruses on your computer. These scams can also include messages stating that your device is at risk or has been hacked, which is another way they try to get users to click on links and pay them money. If you do purchase these malicious programs, it will steal personal information from your computer and use it for illegal purposes such as identity theft or making purchases in your name. If you come across any of these pop-ups, close your browser immediately and run an anti-malware scan before opening up again with safe browsing enabled (this should be enabled by default). Local businesses can take the help of IT Outsourcing Vermont in identifying fake software.
Fake news scam
The fake news scam is one of the most common online fraud methods and can be found on social media platforms, as well as in general news feeds. Fake news typically has a sensational headline, prominent image (often a stock photo or photo shopped image), and ALL CAPS text that screams “look at me!” to get you to click. The article will often be filled with misinformation or completely made-up stories. Although it may seem obvious that you should avoid clicking on anything like this, many people are still fooled by these scams because they are so convincing. If you ever see a story like this in your social media feeds or email inboxes, do some research before clicking any links or sharing it with others—you might save yourself from being scammed!
Fake shopping websites
One of the most common online scams is fake shopping websites. These sites look like the real thing but are used to collect payment information.
- Check for HTTPS in the website address. This means that the site is secure and safe from hackers.
- Be wary of sites that sell at very low prices, as this may mean they’re using stolen credit card details or sending you fake goods. If you see a product on sale for much less than anywhere else, do some research on it before buying; it might not be what you think it is!
- Check for spelling errors in URLs (for example, wwwwshopping[dot]com instead of www[dot]shopping[dot].com). If there are any mistakes, reconsider whether this site is legitimate or not!
Overpayment Online Scam
This one is a classic. This is how it works. You’re selling an item on Craigslist, eBay or another online marketplace, and someone contacts you with a high offer. They pay you more than what they agreed upon, but then ask that you wire back the difference—or deposit it into their PayPal account. This usually happens because they want to avoid paying taxes on their purchase. The scammer will likely use a cashier’s check instead of an actual check (which would have the bank’s name printed on it). The cashier’s check looks real enough that victims are tricked into thinking everything is okay and then send out money as instructed by the scammer. Once this happens, there’s no way for victims to get their money back from banks because no actual funds were deposited into their accounts.
Tech Support Online Scams
Tech support scams come in many forms. For example, a scammer may call you directly and claim that your computer has been compromised by malware or viruses (or whatever). They will then try to convince you that they are from Microsoft or Apple or some other company specializing in computer repair services so they can sell their “services” to fix it for you. Other times, scammers will create websites that look like legitimate ones but are actually fake pages designed just so people who visit these sites will think they need help repairing their computers—and pay money for it! Another common way that scammers trick people is through fake emails from big companies like Facebook or Google pretending there’s something wrong with their account settings. When users click on these links trying to fix the problem themselves, they end up being redirected straight towards another website where sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers could be stolen from them. Please contact Managed IT Services Vermont for more information on internet scams and how to avoid them.
Steve Loyer is the president and CEO of Tech Group, LLC. Computer consulting Vermont company. With over 25 years of sales and service experience in network and network security solutions, Steve has earned technical and sales certificates from Microsoft, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Citrix, Sonicwall, Symantec, McAfee, Barracuda and American Power Conversion. Steve graduated from Vermont Technical College with a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technology.