3 Lesser Known Online Scams

31 Jul

The internet has changed. Scams and tricks that caught people out years ago just wouldn’t work these days…or would they?

The internet is a wonderful place. It can simplify our lives and provide exceptional convenience, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not flawed. Along with the convenience comes the risk. Online scams exist and millions of people around the world have found themselves victims of these scams. It would be irresponsible to believe that the internet is a safe place.

Data scavengers

One thing is for certain, online scams and hoaxes are all designed around one basic need that hackers and criminals have, and that’s to collect data.

Once the personal data of an individual or business is obtained, that’s when purchases can be made, identities can be stolen and losses sustained. Without the right data protection and security mechanisms in place, it’s not a case of “if your data is hacked”, its more a case of “when your data is hacked”.

Phishing and Malware scams are a major problem for young and old, there’s no discrimination. It’s easy to fall victim to this when you shop online, read your email, or access your social media accounts.

It can be hard to keep track of all the online scams and hoaxes that go around each and every year, but we hope that this list provides a bit of insight into some of the lesser know. Some are old, some are new…but all of these are still highly prevalent in the online community.

Here’s our top pick of three scams that you might not have heard of yet:

Greeting Card Scam

It’s Christmas or Easter and you might be expecting a greeting card or two. With the digital age upon us, it’s not unusual to receive a greeting card in your email inbox. You open the email, click on the card and before you know it, a secret program is downloaded to your computer. You don’t think much of it and go on with your life. Maybe pop-ups appear now and then or your system is slow.

Behind the scenes, the downloaded software is quietly gathering your personal and financial information and sending it back to the criminals behind the hack.

A decent computer security system should be able to protect you against this kind of hack. Remember though, unless you personally know and recognise the sender of an email, don’t open it or click on any links and attachments.

‘You’ve Won the Lottery’ Scam

We all want to win the lottery so you will be forgiven if you find yourself falling for this one. This scam usually presents itself in the form of an email informing you that you have won a chunk of change. The initial excitement of being able to quit your job could make you overlook the fact that you haven’t bought a lottery ticket and the fact that you have to pay a processing fee to collect your prize.

You can protect yourself from this type of scam by being realistic. You should never have to pay money for a prize and if you haven’t entered a competition, don’t open emails or even respond to an SMS claiming that you have won!

Hitman Scam

Ever had your life or the life of a loved one threatened? That’s what the Hitman scam is all about. You receive an email stating that you or a family member will be kidnapped/killed if a ransom is not paid. These emails are believably threatening as they are often filled with your personal details which the criminals will have retrieved online.

You can protect yourself from this scam by limiting how much personal information you give out online and ensuring that you don’t converse with fake ransom emailers.

Many Other Online Scams Await You

Unfortunately, these three scams are just the tip of the iceberg of scams that are out there. Other popular scams include phishing email scams, Nigerian scams, bank loan and credit card scams, romance scams, fake antivirus software scams, Make-Money-Fast scams, travel scams, Bitcoin scams, fake shopping websites, and many more.

Avoid being a victim of scams. Store all your personal particulars in an off-site, data encrypted cloud account and ensure that you are always suspicious of potential threats. If something seems too good to be true or doesn’t quite sit right with you, avoid it at all costs.

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