3 Major Online Scams and How to Avoid Them
Millions of people fall victim to cybercrime each year.
The internet offers a vast array of advantages. It makes information transmission and reception easier than ever before. However, as with most things in life, it is imperfect.
The internet is used by thieves to attempt to steal personal information. Frequently, this involves phishing and spoofing frauds. Phishing is when an online con artist imitates the look of a reputable website in order to fool a victim into inputting sensitive information. A fraudulent email sender engages in spoofing when they want you to respond to an email that appears to be from a reputable company.
We do not expect you or your family members to disconnect from the internet, but we do want you to be secure online. Moreover, you should also use a secured internet connection, such as WOW TV and Internet.
Therefore, familiarize yourself with these prevalent Internet scams and the precautions you may take to avoid them.
Fake Sites Offering Credit Reports
Once every year, you are legally entitled to a free copy of your credit report.
These websites claim to provide “free credit reports,” but they frequently capture sensitive information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth, which can be exploited to steal your identity.
Other websites may provide “free” credit monitoring for a trial period before charging a fee to your credit card. We recommend monitoring your credit report at least twice every year. If you discover unlawful activity and suspect identity theft, you should issue a fraud alert on your credit report.
How to Evade this Scam
Do not reply to emails, pop-up ads, or social media ads that offer a free credit report. Instead, visit AnnualCreditReport.com.
Be careful because some phony credit report websites have URLs that closely like AnnualCreditReport, so enter the address carefully into your search box and confirm you’re on the authentic site before entering any information.
False Security Alerts
This fraud exploits consumers’ concerns. A fake pop-up alerts the user that their computer has recently been infected with a virus and instructs them to instantly download security software.
Occasionally, the purpose of this scam is to make money by convincing the victim to purchase malicious software. Other times the alleged security software is free, which urges the victim to download it.
Once installed, the program seizes control of the victim’s computer, where it can cause chaos or access your confidential data. Even seasoned internet users might be duped by this fraud since many fake pop-ups appear to originate from Windows or a renowned computer security company.
How to Evade this Scam
Protecting your computer with real antivirus software from a trustworthy security company is one of the most efficient methods for avoiding this fraud. An excellent solution is utilizing a defender app because it helps defend your computer from scams as well as viruses and phishing attempts.
Online Romance Scam
Unfortunately, romance fraudsters, sometimes known as “catfish,” use dating platforms to spot their victims.
This type of fraud takes on many various forms, but often it starts with the fraudster developing a fake online romance with the victim. After gaining the victim’s trust, the con artist will ask for money. Frequently, they claim they require funds for a personal emergency or to purchase a plane ticket to visit the victim.
Romance scammers have even gone as far as convincing their victims to allow them access to private financial accounts. Additionally, it is very uncommon for these devious crooks to get their victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.
How to Evade this Scam
Adults over 50 should be extremely cautious when utilizing online dating websites since some romance fraudsters specifically target this age group. Additionally, women are victims at a far higher rate than men.
Always closely observe and examine the individual you are speaking with online. It is easy to spot a catfish if you are aware of certain red flags such as common and typical names, hesitance in answering personal questions that they also ask you, and so on.
Never hesitate to cut off communication with anyone who attempts to swindle you, and immediately report them to the dating website or any other relevant authorities.
All in All
Always use caution when browsing the internet, as cybercriminals are always devising new schemes to deceive users. If you fall victim to a cyber fraud (or suspect that you may have), do not feel ashamed. Collect any pertinent information on the occurrence, and then submit a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
Discuss these typical online scams with your loved ones and encourage them to come forward if they believe they are being victimized. Recommend credible antivirus software for their usage and protection, whether they are being conned or have narrowly avoided being duped.
Additionally, we advocate using parental control software to safeguard your children from fraudsters. With your friends and family properly alerted and informed, you may be assured that your loved ones will be cared for.