Cyber Security: Spam, Scams, Frauds, and Identity Theft

Cyber Security: Spam, Scams, Frauds, and Identity Theft


In the last decade, everyone has witnessed the internet growing exponentially. It has seamlessly seeped into everyday life and simplified most things. But with the good comes the ugly as well. Internet scams, frauds, and identity theft continue to grow daily, with many crimes happening online. Is there a way to protect yourself? Being informed about cybercrimes can help you stay alert. Take a look at these common scams.

Romance Scam

In this type of crime, criminals make you lower your guard by appealing to your compassionate or romantic side. They will play with your emotions and solicit gifts, money, and personal details from you. The scammers will create fake profiles and pretend to be other people. Others will use their real names and information, but they block you once they get money from you.

When you start talking to someone, doing background checks is wise. You can use this online site to access criminal records and see if you’re dealing with a criminal. As much as finding love online isn’t impossible, you may be a victim of a romance scam. Be careful of how much personal information you share with strangers, especially credit card info. And if you agree to meet with someone, let your loved ones know, and pick a safe location.

Phishing

Phishing is one of the most common internet scams out there. Cybercriminals attempt to fish important information from you. Most phishing sites resemble legitimate sites, making it almost impossible to know the difference. They trick you into revealing sensitive information like bank details, credit card info, and personal details. Most phishing attempts happen over email. Any time you receive an email asking you to take action, tread carefully.

Lottery Scam

You may receive a text message or email out of nowhere telling you that you’ve worn prizes or money in a competition you didn’t participate in. Lottery scams use legitimate lottery organizations’ names, making a scam seem real. Scammers will ask you to act quickly not to miss out on your winning, as they don’t want you to research and realize you’re about to get conned.

They will ask you first to pay a certain fee before they can release your winnings. Most of the time, they say the fees are for government taxes, insurance costs, courier charges, or bank fees. Once you pay the money, you will hear from them again. Understand that legitimate lottery organizations will give you your winnings without asking for fees. And if you know you haven’t participated in any competitions, such a call can only be a scam.

Malware

Another common type of online fraud is a malware attack. Malware stands for malicious software. These are programs or files that have the potential to harm a site or computer. A common type of malware that affects businesses is a ransomware attack. Such attacks are rising, and you must take steps to protect your business. Otherwise, you may end up losing money or with a ruined reputation.

Such cybercriminals will hold your data hostage or threaten to expose confidential customer information if you don’t pay up. To avoid such scams, raise awareness at your workplace and install security software that can detect and destroy such programs.

Shopping Scams

These scams originate from fake companies pretending to sell products but don’t deliver. You’ll place an order, make the payment and get a confirmation email, but you won’t receive your goods. Most of the time, these scams are on social media, with offers too good to resist. Every time you come across such an offer, do some research first. Read the comments from other customers and check that company’s website, especially the customer review section. If these aren’t available, that’s a red flag.

Identity Theft on Social Media

Seems like social media is a gold mine for cybercriminals. People share a lot of their details online, so it has become easy to steal information and create fake profiles. Scammers will use these fake accounts to reach your friends pretending to be you. They will ask for money from your loved ones by telling them they can’t pay rent or need money for charity.

If you have been waiting to hear from some people for a long time and all of a sudden they are asking for money, be careful. If there’s another way you can get in touch with them, do so to be sure.

Talent or Skills Contest

You may find online contests urging you to participate in dance, music composition, artwork, or modelling competitions. But before you’re allowed to compete, you must pay an entry fee. It’s easy to fall into this trap because you hope to win. Unfortunately, you’ll end up losing money. Before joining any contest, especially one asking you for a participant fee, do some research. If you can’t find any further information online, stay alert.

The internet is full of scams, and every day, new ones are invented. Some scammers are so smart that they dupe even the most educated people. Therefore, as you enjoy the internet, keep an eye out for internet fraud.