By Dina Markhur
Today, criminals can reach victims much easier than before. Thanks to the internet, they can enter our offices, our homes, and every facet of our personal lives. What’s more, it often feels like there isn’t much we can do about it. The top internet scams range from ingenious phishing to online dating site scams with all kinds of creative tools and tactics. These scams often originate from unknown world regions, where justice is slow to catch up to perpetrators.
This article will describe the most popular types of scams deployed to get unauthorized access to financial information or personal data. To check if you’ve been the victim of one of these scams, use Check People or similar verification service.
Phishing accounts for over 33% of all security incidents at companies, says a recent F-Secure report. These types of scams keep evolving and have become a very real threat. They’re based on email communication or communication via social media. Criminals will often send users emails or messages to try to trick them into relinquishing sensitive or valuable data such as work or bank account login credentials. Social network and cloud storage user names and passwords can prove equally valuable.
It usually appears that an official source sent these emails or messages, such as a legitimate company, social network representatives, or a bank institution. Social engineering techniques are applied to get a user to click on a malicious link and open a site that seems legitimate, but which the phishing scam perpetrator usually controls. The user is redirected to an access page that looks like the real site. The final and worst stage is when the user unwittingly provides personal information like their name and password.
We get greeting cards by email from friends and family, no matter what holiday it is. This is a very common scam used by malicious entities to deploy malware and collect important information. If you click on the card, malware is downloaded and installed on your computer. This malicious software could be an irritating program that opens unexpected windows and pop-ads. If this happens, your computer becomes part of a bigger network and begins sending private information to a server that cybercriminals control.
We didn’t believe many people would fall for this, but it seems they do. It’s when a criminal sends a threatening email to get you to give them money. Typically, they threaten that unless you pay them a large amount of money within a deadline set by them, they will kidnap one of your relatives. What makes the scam believable is they often have a large number of details about the victim, usually collected from their social media accounts, a personal blog, or an online account. Facebook has become one of the best places for internet scammers to choose victims. Safe computing measures are critical, especially when it comes to this social medium.
Online Dating Site Scam
You can meet all kinds of people from anywhere on dating sites. Scammers will say they’re from exotic-sounding countries to sound impressive. Fraudulent dating sites have been abusing this scamming method for many years. They customize their approach by assessing the reactions of the potential victims, looking for lonely or gullible people.
Interestingly, research shows the psychological methods and techniques scammers use in online dating and the methods applied in cases of domestic violence are similar.
Fake Antivirus Software Scams
“Your computer has been infected, download X right now to stop the damage” might be a painful reminder of the time you downloaded malicious antivirus software in an effort to stay safe. A legitimate software product will usually come with this same or a very similar message. By downloading fake antivirus software, a keylogger or Trojan can infect your system. One of the most threatening kinds of ransomware might also give this message, namely CryptoLocker. It can lock and encrypt your operating system and then ask for money to decrypt it.
It’s a good idea to improve your online protection with special anti-malware security features working alongside an antivirus program of your choice. This will help you protect yourself against these and other internet scams.