In recent years, we have become more reliant on the use of technology because it makes our lives easier. However, as smart as we may become, why is it that there are more and more people who fall victim to online scams? Why are people so easily trapped by these cybercriminals?
Some people often tend to fall victim to these scams because of how convincing the person is behind it. They easily manipulate young minds or vulnerable parts of society such as the elderly. This becomes an issue. It often hurts the victim in many ways, whether it is financially or emotionally.
This year, it is foreseen that as we turn more to the digital world and mobile users increase, chances are victims of these online crimes will also follow.
Now that 2020 is just beginning, let us stay safe from this harmful content online.
Here are top five online scams that people have to watch out for this year. Some of which have occurred in the past, and they might emerge anytime around in the near future again. These unforgettable online scams are tricky but having a knowledge about the various online scams floating around in cyberspace can help to keep your digital world secure.
Top 5 Online Scams to Remember In 2020
There are about 3.4 billion fake emails sent every day. This alarming amount of emails can seem to be a big problem.
Phishing scams or emails are the most common known online scams. However, a lot of people still fall for this. Why does this happen?
In phishing, cybercriminals send emails or even text messages that look like they come from a legitimate source. This email could appear to be from the user’s bank, asking them to log in to a site provided in the email.
Once the victim logs in to the said link, hackers can now steal the identity and even important information like password and credit card details.
How not to be a victim: Don’t log in to any link or website, even though it looks legitimate or convincing.
Ransomware and Scareware
In 2018, a city was held hostage by a ransomware attack. They use ransomware as a form of their strategy to get millions of dollars from the city. Cybercriminals who employed ransomware attacks often hold the victim’s important information or files on their computer. They will lock out the owner and then ask for payment for the owner to gain their files back.
Sadly, some hackers don’t return the user’s files even though the payment has been given.
If there exists a real ransomware attack, there are also some cybercriminals who make fake ransomware to scare their victims. The hackers threaten the person involved that they have gained access to important or private data they have and will share this with all of their contacts.
Victims believe in this scam and eventually, pay the hacker for information they don’t have.
How to not be a victim: Avoid downloading any attachment that has a .exe file. Only download on trusted sites.
Pump and Dump Stock
The most common form of payment that scammers ask is in the form of Bitcoin. Since this cryptocurrency has a higher value when sold in the market. However, in this form of scamming known as the Pump and Dump, the victim who uses Bitcoin receives emails or notifications about the exchange. They will see that the Bitcoin stock market has inflated, and they rush to sell their stock, not knowing it was only a scam.
How to not be a victim: Ensure that the email received was from a known source or registered stock firm before engaging on a business.
Tech Support Scams
This form of scam appears to victims in times when their computer is in trouble. They show as notification or a pop-up informing the person that their device is infected. They then provide their phone number for people to call them. They give victims a step by step instructions on what to do and eventually ask them to buy antivirus software from their company.
These software programs are not real. It’s just cybercriminals’ way to get money from people and install spyware onto their computer, and then gather all their important data.
How not to be a victim: Don’t call any number given to you when you have a problem with your device. Big companies that offer legitimate antivirus software don’t come to people who are in need. Therefore, only seek help from tech companies that are real. You can check their website to know its authenticity.
Online Dating Scams
In the past, dating often happens via snail mails, but now with the internet, it becomes easy. Online romance becomes the norm in today’s society. People find one another online via social media or dating apps.
This is a great way for people to find the love of their life, but not all the time online dating ends in a good way. Sometimes they become a victim of online scams.
In this way of conducting a scam, the cybercriminal pretends to be a person who is interested in dating someone. Once they have found their next victim, they lure them for months into emotionally manipulating them. Once they have patiently controlled the victim’s emotion, they come up with stories for the victim to forward them money.
Last year the amount lost by victims reached $2 million, and victims are often seen between ages 45 to 54.
How not to be a victim: Conduct research about the person you are chatting with. Don’t wire any amount to people you don’t know. And, report a person to the dating app you are using if you suspect them to be a scammer.
Aside from the scams mentioned above, there are other ways scammers try to earn more money and leave the victims helpless. Here are some unforgettable scams that are known and can be avoided.
- Nigerian 419 scam
- Greeting card scam
- Lottery scam
- Travel scam
- Hitman scam
- Facebook scam (impersonation)
- Shopping scam
- Crowdfunding scam
Scammers have plenty of ways to find their next victim, and it is important to always be aware of this. Always remember to practice precaution when conducting any online transaction or communication with others. Do not install unsecured software on your phone or laptop, and avoid answering or clicking on any links sent via email.
You can also secure your devices with software programs that can detect malware or email scams. Look for a legitimate and trusted company that provides antivirus and anti-malware software for your computer.
This 2020, make your online experience safe and smooth.
JOHN OCAMPOSJohn Ocampos is an Opera Singer by profession and a member of the Philippine Tenors. Ever since, Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the Founder of SEO-Guru, and the Managing Director of Tech Hacker. John is also the Strategic SEO and Influencer Marketing Manager of Softvire Australia – the leading software eCommerce company in Australia and Softvire New Zealand.