Scammers are nothing if not adaptable. Rather than stick to their traditional avenues of flimflamming, many of them have chosen to embrace new technology and treat the internet as a playground. A couple decades ago, these individuals would need to put forth substantial effort to locate and make contact with marks. However, in the digital age, touching base with potential targets is as simple as sending a mass email. Even if the vast majority of a scammer’s marks prove unreceptive, the few who take the bait can make all the difference. Falling victim to an online scam can have a multitude of undesirable consequences that range from small financial setbacks to full-blown identity theft. If staying safe online is among your foremost priorities, stay on your guard for the following scams.
Online Scams That Target Your Pocketbook
Financial insecurity is running high in the U.S. With wages stagnating and cost of living constantly on the rise, being out of work for any amount of time can prove financially ruinous. Fully aware of this fact, scammers won’t hesitate to prey on people’s need for gainful employment. Anyone who’s ever posted a resume online is a prospective mark for a fraudulent employment scam. The exact offers vary, but this scam typically entails jobseekers receiving emails from nonexistent companies. These “companies” are generally located overseas and have trouble accepting money from U.S. clients, thus facilitating their need for America-based “financial representatives.” In this role, you will be expected to process payments for your employer, a process which entails depositing fake checks and money orders into your actual bank account and sending the scammer the majority of the money. Since it can take banks weeks to catch fake checks and money orders, everything will appear to be fine for a while. However, once the fraud is discovered, you’re liable to find yourself on the hook for thousands of dollars.
- Money Chains
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t want to get rich quick. Making a lot of money through as little effort as possible is what many people strive for, regardless of how favorable or dire their current financial situation may be. Money chains are among the many ways scammers are able to take advantage of this. These are essentially email-based pyramid schemes that begin with marks receiving emails instructing them to send a small amount of money (usually five dollars or so) to the person at the top of a list via. Upon complying, the mark is instructed to add his or her name to the list and forward it to other people. The more people to join the chain, the more money the mark will receive when they eventually reach the top. These lists are often filled with fake names and manipulated to keep the mastermind of the scam permanently at the top, ensuring that the mark’s turn never arrives. Given the illegality of pyramid schemes, participating in this type of scam can result in you being charged with fraud – in addition to having your money stolen.
- Malicious Software
Malicious software, or “malware,” comes in many different varieties and is spread through many different avenues. Although infection methods vary, malware typically finds its way onto devices through fraudulent links, download files and program installations. Upon infecting devices, malware can do a substantial amount of damage. Keystroke logging and information theft are among the most common goals of malware developers, but they are by no means their only aims. Some types of malware will hold devices hostage by claiming that they’ve been infected by a virus. Known as ransomware, this malicious software will alter security settings and restrict internet access in an attempt to get the infected party to purchase fake anti-virus software. The absolute last thing you want is a malware developer in possession of your financial information, so avoid purchasing this “software” at all costs. Since ransomware can also be spread through unsecured websites, security-conscious site owners should make combating it a priority. For ideas on how to do so, check out some SiteLock reviews.
Throughout human civilization, there have always been unscrupulous individuals who capitalize on people’s fears and naïvete. Thanks to the internet, it’s become considerably easier for these people to make contact with prospective targets. Additionally, because of the countless scamming opportunities the worldwide web offers, flimflammers have dramatically increased in number in recent years. With scammers constantly finding new ways to perpetrate their mischief online, it’s imperative for internet users to exercise common sense and never take any offer at face value.