Online scams have become a global epidemic spreading like an untreatable virus across all digital surfaces including social media platforms, messaging services and online marketplaces. While their focus remains to get their hands on your personal information and subsequently your finances, their strategies have evolved over the years, becoming increasingly more convincing.
As much of a godsend as technology and the internet in general are, you’re probably wise enough to know that if it’s too good to be true, it’s most likely to be a scam. So, don’t get duped.
Of course, there are certain offers available which are indeed as good as what they’re ads claim; like online casinos offering no deposit bonuses with which you can win real money. But! You also need to remember that with such great deals, come an endless list of terms and conditions to fulfil. Therefore, there’s always some sort of catch when it’s a legitimate offer.
1. Phishing Emails
Phishing is a fraudulent practice whereby criminals send unsolicited emails posing as a reputable entity or person. Attackers commonly employ this tactic to extract personal information such as bank details and passwords or to install malware onto their victims’ devices by encouraging them to click on a malicious link or attachment.
Although it is difficult to distinguish successful phishing messages from real ones, individuals should be on the lookout for misspelled URLs, whether the recipient is using a standard email address rather than a corporate one, and if the message is written to invoke a sense of urgency. We also suggest never disclosing any personal or financial information over email.
2. Online Shopping Scams
Consumers are encouraged to exercise caution when shopping online, as there have been one too many cases of online shopping scams that trick people out of their hard-earned cash. Criminals prey on unsuspecting shoppers by creating fake advertisements on genuine retailer websites or by building fake storefronts.
These fake storefronts are unfortunately as realistic as they can get, with attackers using sophisticated designs, layouts, and logos to appear as authentic as possible. Many of these shady websites usually offer luxury goods such as popular jewelry brands, clothes, and electronics at very low prices. Once a purchase is made, you most likely either receive a knockoff item or never receive anything at all. Therefore, before making an online purchase, be sure to check out reviews beforehand.
3. Employment Scams
Unfortunately, individuals seeking employment can also fall victim to fraud. Alarmingly, employment scams have seen a significant increase recently, with fraudsters masquerading as legitimate organizations to deceive job seekers and obtain personal information or money from them.
These scams can manifest in various forms, however they typically involve enticing victims with promises of job opportunities that are either too good to be true or involve some form of financial risk. That’s why it’s crucial to watch for red flags, such as positions that demand a substantial upfront fee for minimal effort or unprofessional communication. Being vigilant can help you avoid becoming a victim of such scams.
4. Fake Charity Scams
Whenever a horrific tragedy occurs, such as the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria or the wildfires in Maui, charitable organizations may request donations to support relief efforts. While these are genuine groups working to raise funds for the victims of these tragedies, cybercriminals are known to exploit the situation for their own profit.
Individuals should exercise caution when dealing with crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe or any links they come across on social media platforms following a natural disaster. Instead, if you wish to donate to a cause, stick to reputable organizations such as the Red Cross, which provide detailed breakdowns of how your financial contributions will be used to assist those in need.
5. Holiday Scams
From fake accommodations to suspicious reviews, if you think you’re getting a palace for the price of a storage unit, you’re probably falling victim to a scam. Individuals must remain vigilant when browsing popular booking sites like Booking.com or Airbnb. While these platforms offer great accommodations at reasonable prices, they have experienced their fair share of scandals. Scammers infiltrate these sites, creating fake listings with enticing deals, deceiving people in order to make a quick buck. Our advice to you would be to steer clear of any listings that attempt to have you make payments outside the site’s internal system.
In today’s digitally-driven society, dating apps have introduced a fresh approach to pursuing romantic connections. Thanks to their convenience, widespread availability, and the abundance of potential matches, these platforms offer alluring avenues for finding love. However, within the multitude of profiles, lies the ever-present threat of fake online identities, also known as catfishing. Scammers pose as regular individuals seeking love, only to manipulate vulnerable people’s emotions and trust for their own advantage. If something seems off, trust your instincts and always try to validate any information provided by an individual to ensure they are who they claim to be.
7. Investment Scams
Investment fraud occurs when scammers trick individuals into handing over money, supposedly to invest in bonds, real estate, or stocks. They can seem perfectly legitimate with authentic-looking websites, testimonials, and marketing materials. The most common version of this scam is a Ponzi scheme, whereby money is taken from one investor to pay a previous one. Eventually, once the money owed eclipses the money coming in, the scheme collapses, leaving all investors out of pocket.
8. Cryptocurrency Scams
The popularity of cryptocurrencies has given rise to another alarming trend: cryptocurrency investment scams. While they may offer lucrative rewards, cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, so you should be wary of any promotions suggesting a get-rich-quick scheme. Whether you are being contacted by unknown individuals through a crypto forum or you see a celebrity endorsement on social media, never take anything at face value, and do your research to ensure that whatever you put your money into has a solid track record.
9. Phone Scams
Tricksters have been employing the use of artificial intelligence to convince vulnerable individuals that a family member is in distress and requires immediate financial assistance or private information by cloning their voice. These supercharged family-emergency schemes have caused victims to lose $2.6 billion last year, and as AI technology continues to go mainstream, we can expect these scams to become more frequent and sophisticated.
10. Weight Loss Scams
We’re all guilty of looking for ways to achieve a summer body with minimal effort. However, when scammers get involved and take advantage of people’s desire to lose weight, you need to be careful. From miracle teas that promise flat stomachs to unrealistic before-and-after photos, no fitness goal is ever worth jeopardizing your financial security.