Top scams online
Internet fraud is rapidly evolving in response to the exposure of older tactics used to scam the unsuspecting and the internet remains one of the easiest means to perpetuate untraceable scams, taking advantage of the virtual nature of the internet which allows little to no knowledge of physical identities and the use of aliases. These are the top online scams today that you should be weary of:
- Lottery scams: the internet is rife with this kind of fraud because of how eager most people online are to win free stuff. It usually comes through an email or direct message congratulating you for winning a bogus sum of money or some other gift like an expensive gadget, a lot of times these scams hide behind the name of a legitimate and well-known brand to gain the target’s trust but the red flag is they would always require some sort of fee coined as shipping cost or tax to redeem your winnings whereas a real lottery win will not require you to pay a fee but would rather subtract tax from your winnings. Care has to be taken when coming across such because rushing into it out of excitement will get you in a huge mess but the truth is always in the details as most of such fake lottery notifications contain heavy typos that can’t be ignored. They can come in many forms, even claiming to be from yahoo, g-mail or your network provider, thus if you know you didn’t apply for any sort of lottery, it is best to ignore such messages and avoid clicking the links all together.
- Travel scams: even at the peak of covid-19 and the incidence of the lockdown, travel scams remained prevalent, several governments banned travel in or out of their countries but this only opened up a window of opportunity for scammers who knew that most people had booked flights that they can no longer make and not many of them would have travel insurance to cover the losses, thus they pose as airline representatives claiming to offer refunds for cancelled flights due to the coronavirus, they would often require your bank/credit card information and once shared would access your bank account and wipe it clean. Travel scams could take other forms like fake all-expense paid trips/tours, hotel reservations & car rentals. You have to make sure to do a background check on travel companies before dealing with them and ensure to use only well-known companies and even then go directly to their websites to make a reservation rather than doing so via random online links.
- Online dating scams: this remains one of the most difficult scams to eradicate because the need for companionship & love keeps the market for this kind of scam booming, scammers create a persona that appeals to victims, faking an entire lifestyle that would seem attractive and interesting, eventually when they reel a victim in through these facades and build the target’s trust, they present a sad story of a dire situation which requires an amount of money to settle like; treating a terminally ill relative or being stranded and unable to travel to meet up for the first time or even getting robbed of all their supposed wealth and needing help to recover. It is important to have a voice of reason when dealing with these sorts of requests from online lovers because chances are sending the money will only have you sending even more later-on until there’s nothing left and they will most likely never meet you in person.
- Phishing scams: this is one of the most common and easily perpetuated internet scams, usually the scammer would impersonate a trusted individual who could be your service provider, colleague or even friend in order to extract sensitive information from you like your credit card information, social security number or other personal identification number, these types of scams are presented through malicious software or links on social media or messaging apps, thus if you are skeptical about a link, it is advisable to not click on it and carefully review an email and its source before responding to it or sending sensitive feedback.
- Online sales scams: these days there are almost equally as many fake online stores/e-commerce sites as there are real ones and many of them appear well set up with nice websites and attractive products displayed but that is as real as they will ever get, they usually clone popular brands but one way to tell the real from the fake is they usually have price slashes that are too good to be true, the second you place an order and pay for it, you will wait forever to receive what you thought you paid for and eventually they vanish after gathering as much as they targeted. It is ideal to shop directly from product brands and double check the website of the store you have an interest in patronizing.
As much as effort are being made to curb online scams, they keep popping up and improving their tactics, the best way to stay protected is to avoid impulsive online transactions and fact check every information received online before subscribing to it. If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t real.
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