The Top 10 Online Scams of the Decade (So Far)
Cybercrime-associated costs are expected to reach $2 trillion in 2019.
As we get deeper into the digital age and rely more and more on the internet for both business and personal dealings, unscrupulous individuals are seeing opportunities to fleece innocent individuals.
Online scams are one of the most prevalent forms of cybercrime. Internet scams deploy social engineering strategies to dupe people.
Social engineering means using people’s weaknesses – especially frugality, digital illiteracy, inattentiveness, or greed -against them.
As a rule, you must always exercise caution when dealing with people online.
The following are the top ten cyber scams of the decade.
1. The Nigerian Letter
Also known as ‘The Nigerian Prince’ scam, it is one of the most infamous methods of scamming money online. Even though a lot of people are familiar with this scam by now, there are still people falling prey to this tactic.
The strategy usually involves getting an email from a ‘wealthy’ individual from West Africa, usually the heir/heiress of an oil tycoon, politician, or other prestigious positions.
In the email, they will claim that some event caused the death of their father and that they need to transfer a large amount (usually in the millions of dollars) to an offshore account.
They ask whether they can transfer that cash to your account and promise to give you up to 20 percent for your help.
If you respond, they will ask you to send money in several installments for reasons such as payment of taxes, bribes, and legal fees. Nonetheless, no millions of dollars exist, and you will end up with nothing but loss.
Moreover, they can use personal information to impersonate you and engage in nefarious activities.
2. App Fraud
As we rely more and more on apps to help us with various tasks, scammers are designing fake apps to steal sensitive information. For example, they can design an app that claims to help you with mobile banking and electronic transfers.
These fake apps are often very detailed thus giving the impression of credibility.
Of course, using such an app will mean handing out sensitive information such as your birth date, payment card data, and passwords. That’s all the information they need to drain your accounts and credit cards.
3. Free Wi-Fi
Whenever you are in public and notice free Wi-Fi networks, avoid them.
Also, do not let your device to automatically connect to available networks. This is because scammers are now creating free hotspots in public areas with the intent of luring you to connect.
Upon doing so, they can hack into your computer and access your personal information.
4. High School Diploma Online Scams
There are a lot of reasons why you might need a high school diploma. Criminals know this and are out to exploit people. You will find them online posing as legitimate high schools.
However, with them, you do not have to take classes. All you need to do to get a diploma is take a multiple-choice test then pay a couple of hundred dollars. Nonetheless, as with all scams, there’s nothing waiting for you at the end of the line.
If you are looking to get a diploma fast, this article details how to do it without falling prey to conmen.
5. Phishing Emails
One of the latest scamming formats involves cybercriminals impersonating websites such as PayPal. Here, they send you an official-looking email saying that you have been denied access to your account due to suspicious activity.
And because you probably depend on your PayPal account for business, you instantly become worried.
The scammers will take advantage of this and will offer you a solution in the same email – usually a link claiming to direct you to the relevant page.
The page you are directed to is typically identical to that of the legitimate company; however, it’s a fake.
Once there, you are asked to enter your username and password, which they now use to access your legitimate account and do as they please.
6. Death Threat Scams
Fear is another emotion that online criminals are preying upon. It involves sending threatening messages via email saying that they have been contracted to kill you. The emails are usually quite aggressive so as to sound convincing.
However, they offer you ‘mercy’ if you send them the amount they are asking for.
The FBI has even released statements warning people about these types of emails.
7. Cryptocurrency Scams
The cryptocurrency boom saw to people losing lots of money to scammers.
Due to the fear of missing out, people were signing up to websites that promised to sell them cryptos at below average prices. Nevertheless, most of these were fake, and upon sending the money, there was nothing waiting for you on the other side.
If you are still interested in cryptocurrency, read on to find out whether it is viable for you.
8. Romance Scams
Looking for love and companionship in the real world can be an arduous task. Looking for it online is outright dangerous. Criminals will set up attractive profiles on dating apps and act like they are heads over heels in love with you.
Once you have established rapport, the scamming begins. They will routinely ask for money to take care of sensitive needs, and because you care, you will fall for it.
9. Disaster Relief Scams
Here, scammers prey on your compassion.
They send you a heart-wrenching email asking you to make a donation to help with relief efforts. The email usually has a link to a website where you can make donations via your credit card or bank account.
In addition to your donation, they now have your details. If you are to make a donation, Google the disaster and search for official websites handling the situation.
This is a relatively new scamming technique where criminals take advantage of your typing mistakes.
For instance, typing amozon.com instead of amazon.com. The amozon.com URL may then take you to a site that delivers malware to your device. Always countercheck your URLs
Website Scams Are Here to Stay
As long as the internet exists, cybercrime will always be around. Therefore, to avoid falling prey to online scams, always exercise caution in your online activities.
Remember, if it is too good to be true, think twice.
Nonetheless, do not let these fears dissuade you from trying to save money. If you are looking for scam-free ways to have some change left, check out these ingenious money-saving tactics compilation to help you get started.