When the internet came out, one of the most prevalent pieces of advice was to avoid handing out personal information and talking to strangers. Apps like Uber now bring strangers to our doorsteps so we can take a ride in their automobile. We’ve become so accustomed to utilizing the internet that it’s easy to forget that there are bad guys out there. Scam websites and internet scams are popular among cybercriminals because they allow them to deceive victims into willingly handing over personal information or money.
At the turn of the decade, not much has changed, with many of the most common internet frauds for 2022 appearing like old foes. You may be better prepared to handle these cyber threats in the new year by knowing about the most frequent techniques and coupling that information with security solutions.
A “scam” is a deceptive strategy that deceives people into giving their money away for free. When you need to rent an apartment or purchase something used, you used to look in the newspaper, phone the individual, and then exchange money and products in person. Scammers and fraudsters can now more easily deceive people thanks to the internet. Scams abound on sites like Craigslist, and crooks use a variety of tactics to steal your money. The most important things for anyone utilizing Craigslist to remember are to be aware of the fraud techniques used by scammers and to never send money until you are certain. This guide will show you what to watch out for.
Tech Support Scams
You get an email, a pop-up window, or a phone call from tech support saying that your machine is infected with malware. They demand cash or remote access to your computer in order to repair the faults. If you think your computer has been hacked, make sure you have the most recent security software upgrades. If you receive a phone call, hang up and dial a known good number. Try contacting them directly, or bring your computer to a trustworthy store with on-site help—remember, software firms do not begin support calls.
Phishing is one of the most prevalent cyber attacks, and it continues to be incredibly successful. Phishers pose as a friend, neighbors, or coworkers to fool you into handing up personal information or clicking on a malicious link via email, social media, or other messaging apps like WhatsApp. Every month, phishing attempts are made all around the world, and while they often take place via email, hackers are broadening their strategy to include any site where you might interact with someone one-on-one on the internet.
The most critical step in detecting a phishing effort is to read the email or message carefully. This will assist you in identifying discrepancies such as misspelled names, poor grammar in the text, and links that do not lead to the intended destination. If you’re unsure about a link, use your mouse cursor to hover over it. You can see the whole URL in the bottom left-hand corner and determine whether they’re taking you to a legitimate or fraudulent website.
Donations are sought for organizations that do little or no work, but the monies are instead directed to the phony charity’s founder. These types of scams can happen at any time, but they’re more likely after high-profile calamities. Criminals frequently take advantage of disasters in order to exploit you and others who are willing to assist. Charity fraud scams can take many different forms, including emails, social media posts, crowdfunding sites, cold calls, and so on. Always be cautious and conduct your homework when donating to nonprofit organizations.
Untrustworthy contractors and other con artists may commit insurance fraud after a natural catastrophe or other events, re-victimizing people whose homes or businesses have been devastated. These con artists may even claim to be linked with the government when they are not. Do your homework before choosing a contractor for any post-disaster repairs.
You receive a request from someone claiming to be a representative of the United States government pushing you to pay a debt immediately, pay money upfront in order to receive federal cash swiftly, or verify your personal information. You may be arrested, lose your home, or have your Social Security benefits withheld, they claim. Always be aware of unusual requests, and do your research to confirm any questionable requests. Over the phone or over email, the government will never ask you to pay back loans with an anonymous prepaid debit card, gift voucher, or wire transfer.
Fraudulent Email Advertisements
You get an unsolicited email about a job opportunity from home, about a service that will be deactivated, or about an account that will be deactivated. The email sender requests that you respond immediately by donating money or submitting account information via a link in the email’s body. Malicious emails can be filtered out with the use of security software. If you do receive an email, however, be wary about opening attachments or clicking on links contained within it. If you have an account with the company that is reportedly sending the email, go to the homepage URL and look for account alerts. If you didn’t initiate the communication, don’t give out personal information.