Most Sophisticated Online Scams People Fall For

In the past few years, online scams have been growing increasingly popular. They have also been becoming more complex, as scammers continue to trick people out of thousands of dollars at a time. These days, it is often difficult for victims to differentiate between fake and legitimate businesses or propositions. Here, we have compiled a list of the most sophisticated online scams that people tend to fall for so that you can become aware of how to avoid them.   

Romance Scams

A romance scam is when someone sets up a fake dating profile in the hopes of building a relationship with a victim. Online dating is a common form of meeting new people, but users of such services should be wary. If the profile seems too good to be true, it may very well be. Moreover, if the person continually makes excuses to avoid meeting in person (in a public place), it is likely a scammer, and you should stop talking to them immediately. To avoid romance scams, you need to make sure that you never send the person money, especially if you have never met them. 

Charity Donations

Scammers will eagerly take advantage of the good nature of people. When a natural disaster occurs, or someone experiences a tragedy, it is common for people to create websites to collect money to support others. However, if a scammer sends you a link asking you to donate, they will be able to steal your financial information after you have entered it into the website. To avoid getting tricked this way, never follow a link if you are unsure of its origins. Instead, type the official website directly into your browser. You can confirm that the website is secure if you see “HTTPS://” at the beginning of the URL.

Pop-Up Scams

While you are browsing the web, you may get a pop-up informing you of malware on your computer. The message will often give you a phone number of a fake tech support agent who will try to steal your money and data. People usually encounter this type of pop-ups when they mistype a URL and end up on the wrong site. If the message tells you to call someone or download free software, do not do it. The software would likely give you malware or ransomware and could potentially send your confidential data to hackers. If you come across this situation, it is important to avoid clicking anything and to close the webpage immediately.  

Unknown Attachments

This scam tends to mostly affect office workers. A scammer will hack into the email account of one of your colleagues and will send a mass message to all their contacts. This message will usually contain an attachment or link to a file-sharing site. Once you click on these, malware will get downloaded onto your computer and attack your files by locking them down. To avoid this scam, have your anti-virus software scan any attachment before you open it. In addition, if the email seems suspicious, you should contact your co-worker through a secondary channel and confirm they meant to send you the file. 

Friend Requests

Scammers will occasionally duplicate the social media account of one of your contacts. They will then add you as a friend to gain data about you, such as your birthday, email address, pets’ names, partner’s name, etc. They will then use this information to try and hack into your bank account. Do not accept any friend requests from people you don’t know. If you get a friend request from a secondary account, you should contact the individual offline and ask whether they created a new profile or not. 

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