Semalt: How Can Cyber Criminals Trick You With Online Scams?

The internet has opened limitless opportunities to everyone. It's simple. It's convenient. It's awesome. You can shop, pay bills, watch movies, get news, make reservations, work on the go plus so much more. As the global population figures new ways to use the internet, cyber criminals are in tow but rather than build, they seek to scam, swindle and steal. So, how do you stay safe from online fraudsters?

Well, the answer is simple: get acquainted with common online scams, specified by Max Bell, the Customer Success Manager of Semalt, and you won't become a victim.

Phishing email scam

This year (2017), the number of phishing emails sent was 155% more than it was last year. A phishing scam is based on communications made over a social media network or via email. Here, the perpetrator tries to persuade you into divulging your credit card number, bank details, login or any other personal data. You may be promoted into clicking a link. This is a way of spreading data-stealing malware in your system. With a good and updated antivirus program, you should be able to keep off this scam.

Nigerian 419 scam

This scam typically involves a heart-wrenching email, text message, letter or even a social media account message sent by a lady in distress. She'd claim that she's a rich heiress, business lady or government official begging you to help her retrieve the money after which you get a lump sum. Here's the catch: you help pay some fee then in return you get a big share.

Greeting card scam

In this scheme, you get a 'harmless' greeting card from a friend. However, a link which if clicked installs a malware is inserted somewhere in the greeting card. The malware could be anything from an obnoxious program that launches pop-up ads or unexpected windows on the web browser. In the worst case scenario, it could be ransomware - everybody's nightmare.

Credit card scam

When times get hard, people resort to different tactics to get financial assistance. However, you may get an offer that's too good to be true. Take this example: you're seated at the backseat of a cab on the way home then you get a message that you've got a pre-approved loan with little interest. Do not fall for this scam. Use common sense.

Lottery scam

Arguably, the oldest online scam. It comes via email. The message is straightforward: you've won a cash prize in the lottery or charity sweepstakes, but for you to claim your money, you have to pay processing fees or something in that line. You'd be surprised by the number of winners who've won without actually participating.

Hitman scam

This is outright extortion. The perpetrator threatens to kill you if you don't pay up. They'd say that they've been hired to kill you in the first place, but they (the hitmen) considered telling so that you pay them to leave you in peace. What's scary is the fact that they can recount your life activities.

Romance scam

It targets dating websites. The scheme may be executed for months with precision and deceit. A potential partner slowly gains your trust by giving you gifts. Then one day, they claim to be in an emergency. Often a relative would be sick or their business has stalled for lack of cash. You are then asked to send money which will be refunded.

Employment scam

Here you get news that you've landed a lucrative job with perky remuneration. There is a catch though. In order to secure the job, you must pay some fee.

Travel scam

Appears during holidays like in summer or in Christmas. Here you're promised a good travel package at a very cheap cost. To avoid becoming a victim, check a review of the said website. It could save you money.

Other scams

  • The fake shopping website scam – copies global brands and preys on unsuspecting online shoppers looking to buy new stuff.
  • Fake news scam – self-explanatory.
  • Fake antivirus program scam.