Scamming is nothing new. For as long as humans have existed, there have been those who prey on vulnerability and weakness and take full advantage of others’ naivete. However, in the digital age, scamming has become considerably more prevalent, thanks largely in part to technology streamlining the process. Thanks to the worldwide web, dedicated scammers have countless marks from which to choose. Furthermore, they’re able to pursue these targets with all the anonymity the internet provides. Although many modern-day scams are aimed at people who aren’t proficient in modern technology, it’s not unusual for people with tech savvy and street smarts to fall victim to them. When working to stay safe online, keep a watchful eye out for the following scams.
Like many online scams, scareware scams incorporate malicious software, or “malware.” Once a victim’s device has been infected with this type of malware, their access to the internet will be restricted, and they’ll receive pop-up messages informing them that their computer, smart phone, etc. has been infected with a virus. These messages will purport that the only way to combat this virus is by calling a number or visiting a website and purchasing a special program. The goal is to get victims to turn over credit card numbers or other sensitive financial information when purchasing bogus anti-virus software. Suffice it to say, this will not result in the malware being removed from your device. Website owners looking to keep this type of malicious software off their sites should consult SiteLock reviews for important answers.
- Nigerian 419
Although this particular scam has been popular joke fodder for over a decade, people continue to fall for it to this day. TheNigerian 419 involves cybercriminals sending out emails in which they claim to be foreign royalty or wealthy dignitaries who wish to transfer massive sums of money into the U.S. In exchange for the victim paying thousands of dollars in processing fees, they will be reimbursed many times over. This scam derives its name from the fact that many of the perpetrators claim to be Nigerian princes. Of course, once the “processing fees” are paid, the victims never see a cent of the reward they were promised. Because this scam plays on people’s financial insecurities and desire to make easy money, it continues to be relatively effective in spite of how well known it’s become.
- Fake Greeting Cards
In the digital age, animated greeting cards have largely eclipsed traditional cards in popularity. After all, they’re affordable, less cumbersome to send and instantly receivable. The prevalence of online greeting cards hasn’t escaped cybercriminals, who have taken full advantage of how commonplace they’ve become. The fake greeting card scam involves sending people emails that are purportedly from friends and family members. These emails claim to contain links for digital greeting cards, but upon clicking these links, recipients will find themselves on booby-trapped sites that are rife with Trojan viruses and malicious software.
- Secret Shopper Check Cashing
Another scam that preys on financial insecurity, the secret shopper check cashing has been around for years and proven itself a moderate success for cybercriminals. Per this scam, victims receive emails offering them jobs as secret shoppers. Upon accepting this job and providing the sender with your personal information, you will receive your first “paycheck” in the mail. After depositing the check into your account, you’ll be instructed to visit a store and test its money-transfer services by sending a portion of the check you received. You may also be asked to use a portion of the check to purchase gift cards, the numbers of which you will be required to send to your “bosses.” In addition to never hearing from them again after complying, you will soon be informed by your bank that the check has bounced. It can take banks weeks to discover fake checks, a fact the perpetrators of this scam are well aware of.
As long as there are people, there will always be scammers. As rapid advances in technology have proven, these individuals are nothing if not adaptable. Scammers thrive on taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, and knowing how to spot them is crucial to maintaining one’s online safety. Even if you’re convinced that you’d never fall for any of the previously discussed scams, you may be surprised by how convincing practiced scammers can be.