It has been estimated that about 10% of all adult Americans get defrauded annually. Currently, the percentage of Americans liable to fall to fraud every year is on the rise. It has increased by 34% as revealed by the Federal Trade Commission. It has also been determined that the bulk of these scams are facilitated through the internet. We should learn about the ways fraudsters use to penetrate online security. Sometimes, it could be easy for people to fall victim to hackers who are bent on stealing sensitive data.
The activities of cyber criminals have increased in recent years. These hackers have the ability to invade into your private network especially if you are not aware of Wi-Fi security. They make use of sophisticated tools that are hidden in software. Malware can be installed on a computer from a program gotten from the internet or an attachment in an email.
Here are some common online fraud explained:
1. Phishing Email Fraud
Different studies have revealed that more than 33% of security breaches result from phishing emails. These emails are sent to employees with attachments that infect their networks.
The emails containing a phishing website are typically customized to look like an authentic website such as the login page of a bank or financial institution. Some tech-savvy individuals take note of the links they click. Others unconsciously take a look at the address bar of the website that is being visited.
However, in a case where a person is distracted, the phishing link may not be noticed. The method used by the fraudster is to create a sense of urgency by stating an account is under attack. The unsuspecting victim who visits the phishing website inserts their details which will be obtained by the cyber-criminal. The information received could range from social media information to internet banking login details. Other email phishing targets include cloud storage details and workplace login details.
2. Greeting Card Scam
This type of fraud is usually perpetrated during festive periods because they tend to achieve higher success rates. The greeting card would be sent through email, which could be mixed up with real greeting cards from friends. Once the greeting card is clicked by a user, software containing malware would be downloaded and installed on a system.
Once the malware is in the system, the computer usually becomes a big network of other malware-infected computers. Sensitive information inputted on the computer would be transferred to the cyber-criminal(s), putting such an individual at risk.
3. The Lottery Scam
The lottery scam is one that has been in existence since the general adoption of the internet. The scam is usually in the form of an email stating that you have won a big sum of money. Usually, it further informs you to pay a small sum of money for a particular service in order for you to receive your winnings.
Usually, potential victims think about how lucky they have gotten to win the lottery without any prior lotto applications. Some even imagine how they’d never be underemployment again and take very long vacations in faraway countries.
The imaginations soon end as the victim sends the fee and never receives the ‘prize’.
4. Romance Fraud
Since online dating has emerged with successes of solid relationships recorded in the news, romance fraud has increased. A lot of online dating websites can be used for these purposes by cyber-criminals. It could also take place on the usual social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.
These scammers would get into online romantic relationships with their potential victims. When a bond is established, the criminal would go on to state his/her various financial problems and ask for help. The unsuspecting victim would then send the funds to the scammer. When the money is received, these scammers usually block their victims. In cases where the victim is not blocked, phantom financial issues would keep coming up and subsequent payments get sent.
Another method used by scammers is to gain the trust of the victim and ask for raunchy pictures. When received, these pictures are used as a tool for blackmail to receive remuneration.
5. Antivirus Pop-ups
There are antivirus pop-ups that sometimes show up on a computer when a user is browsing the internet. These pop-ups are made to seem like they’re from your operating system. The more sophisticated antivirus pop-ups could vibrate your mobile device and create a sense of urgency to initiate the download.
Once the phony antivirus software is downloaded and installed, it could lead to the infection of your device. Malware such as key-loggers could start operating on your device, sending sensitive information to the cyber-criminal. The worst case of phony antivirus pop-ups is a ransomware which withholds your data in exchange for money.
6. Malicious Shopping Websites
This type of scam has been propagated since the introduction of e-commerce. Since cyber-criminals have determined that internet users love to shop online, some have set up fake shopping websites. These fake e-commerce websites contain deals that are incredibly lower than typical prices. The victim who is attracted by these prices, fix in personal and credit card information to make a purchase.
7. Online Purchase Fraud
Online purchase scams are perpetrated on legitimate websites for trading like Craigslist and eBay. Usually, this scam comes in two forms; by a buyer or a seller. A seller who would have received payment for a product would never take delivery of the commodity purchased. Also, a buyer could send a bogus check to a seller, claiming payment for a product. The product would then shipped and received.
Lots of people make use of the internet and are susceptible to the numerous scams perpetrated by fraudsters every day. However, there are new methods used by scammers that you need to be aware of. They include romance scams, email phishing scams, lottery scams, antivirus pop-ups, and phony shopping websites.
Chris is the resident tech expert and managing director of #TurnOnVPN. #TurnOnVPN is an activist group whose mission is to promote free and unimpeded internet for all. We take part in numerous online events to advocate for a safe, secure, and censor-free Internet.