The Most Common Internet Frauds You Should be Aware of
The exponential growth of the internet has added convenience to our lives. From communication to shopping, and global business opportunities, it has opened doors for many. However, despite the plethora of benefits, it has also come with an increased risk of internet scams.
Cyber scams catch innocent people off guard and lead to the loss of millions of dollars every year. So, it’s important to know that email phishing, shopping frauds, identity theft, fake lottery, and hacking through spyware have become the most common internet frauds these days.
Email phishing is one of the most prevalent types of online scams.
Fraudsters send spammy emails to random people asking them to click on malicious links. They tend to pose as employees of a well-known company to manipulate people. For instance, they may send a warning message to the receiver, asking them to verify their credit card details or their online shopping account with a website such as Amazon, or else their account will be blocked.
Since the email address and the attached link looks similar to the actual website, users can easilybe fooled into sharing their confidential details. These scammers may later misuse your personal information and card details.
To steer clear of phishing or email scams, refrain from clicking links you may receive through emails. If you need to log onto a website, it’s best to manually type its address in the browser search bar.
With cryptocurrency trading on the rise around the globe, crypto scams have become a major concern for traders as well as the government. Let’s take a look at the most popular types of cryptocurrency scams:
➢ Fabricated Initial Coin Offering (ICOs)
➢ Ponzi schemes
➢ Hacking crypto wallets and stealing currency
➢ Fake crypto wallets on apps or websites
➢ Phishing emails that seem to be sent by legitimate crypto companies
In July 2020, crypto investors lost over $100,000 in cryptocurrency when hackers took control of Twitter accounts of famous US personalities including Elon Musk, former President and Vice Presidents of the country, and some prominent Hollywood stars.
Scammers tweeted the exact same message from all accounts, asking everyone to send $1,000 to a specified crypto wallet and they would double the amount, in an effort to give back to the community as a Covid-19 relief program.
Online Dating Scams
The pandemic has taken millions of lives globally and has financially hurt a myriad of businesses. However, the prolonged lockdowns and traveling restrictions have also had severe negative impacts on the mental health of many. Consequently, people have been feeling lonelierthan ever.
While many people and organizations are spreading positive messages to help others during this situation, scammers considered this as a profitable opportunity to scam people out of their hard-earned money. These fraudsters create online profiles and gain the trust and affection of their targets before asking them for money.
Australians reported losses of $37 million to online dating scams in 2020 alone.
You should be cautious and avoid blindly trusting someone you’ve met online and never got the chance to talk to them in person. Furthermore, professional private investigators can also help you look into the background of people you’ve found through online dating platforms.
Online Shopping Scams
In 2020, Australians spent $50.46bn on online shopping and over 9 million households preferred to shop online instead of making store visits. With the constant growth of the eCommerce industry, the risk of online shopping fraud has also significantly increased.
Fraudulent shopping websites cheat customers by displaying attractive product portfolios but customers receive low-quality products once they place an order. Such companies pay no heed to customer complaints and remove negative customer experience reviews from their social media pages. Moreover, such businesses tend to sell products at higher than market rates.
Customers also purchase the desired items through online auction sites and marketplaces such as eBay, OLX, Auction.com, and Facebook Marketplace where sellers advertise the products they intend to sell. However, fake sellers may scam customers by advertising non-existent products. They may ghost you once you wire transfer them the amount or send you another cheaper product.
To enjoy safe online shopping, it’s best to choose trusted and reputable websites. Make sure they provide sufficient details about the product or service as well as other terms & conditions such as return policy, payment security, the team that manages the store, and privacy of customer information.
Identity theft is among the most common internet frauds. It’s a critical problem in this digital era since anyone can find your personal information through social media. Fraudsters may use your personal details to apply for credit cards, bank loans, or vehicle loans. And the worst thing is that you may realize the misuse of your personal information only when the bank notifies you aboutthe approaching due date of loan repayments.
Identity theft fraud affects individuals and businesses alike. With your personal information, scammers may create fake social media profiles and carry out unethical activities such as cyberbullying. Businesses, on the other hand, may lose their reputation as well as customers if scammers create fake business pages by stealing their business information and post unethical content.
To reduce the risk of falling prey to identity theft attacks, be careful when sharing personal information online. Further, don’t blindly trust anyone whom you came across on social media and accept friend requests only from the people you already know.
Online Work Scams
Work from home and online freelancing have gained massive popularity among the experienced workforce since it helps them avoid commute fatigue, offers more freedom, and enables them to enjoy more time with their loved ones. Moreover, employees in a myriad of companies have gone remote since the start of the pandemic.
However, be careful when you notice an online ad that entices you to earn a hefty sum every week with little to no effort. Always remember, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is!
When applying for work-from-home jobs or freelancing projects, do your research to ensure the advertiser and vacancy are genuine before sending an application.
Do you want to know how private investigators can help you stay safe from online scams? Then read more about our Online Behaviour Enquiry services.