For many years now, the internet has been the best source of information. It is almost impossible for the world to survive if the Internet is taken away.
Billions on the word population make use of the Internet daily, all for different purposes.
Some earn their daily living from the internet, some are on it for fun, and most use it to educate themselves. But there are some people on the internet to scam others.
Because of this group of people, the internet is no longer safe; there is now a big issue of internet insecurity.
Now the big question is, how do these people perform this cyber-crime?
How do they do it? What do they stand to achieve, and how can it be avoided?
Types Of Online Scam You Must Try To Avoid
1. Online Job Scam
Online job scam is real. If you are not a victim, you may not believe that it exists.
In recent days, fake online jobs appear more genuine than authentic ones. It is because the scammer will give you perfect attention, and try to block every loophole that can be suspected.
Online job scams are in a different format, depending on how you play along. Even if you receive a call from the ‘so-called’ employer, or you saw their website, it is still no guarantee.
At last, the whole game will boil down to paying a sum of money for a particular purpose or another, once it comes to that keep off immediately. And if your account detail is asked for whatever reason never give it out.
2. Online Dating Scam
Scammers are on several dating websites looking for hookups. No matter how real they may sound, you must be very careful, and make sure you never get emotional for online love.
Most of the scammers use fake profiles, few of them may use their real profiles. Even if you meet them one-on-one, or make use of video calls, it still does not prove they are genuine.
These scammers are so smart that they can predict your next move even before you make it. They have the patience to the highest core; they don’t mind being in the friend zone for years before throwing their advances on you, to make you think they are real. The only way you can identify these people is to be smarter than them.
If you end up having an emotional connection with them, then they can easily; fraud, kidnap, abuse, blackmail, or gain access to your data.
3. Online Shopping Scam
There are lots of fake online stores; some of them have a unique design and some are cloned to look like a trusted online store.
Always be sure of the URL you are buying from – some URL seems very similar but not the same, take for example: “www.jumia.com.ng” is different from “www.jumai.com.ng” and “www.jumia.com” its confusing isn’t it.
Scammers can create a fake website and maybe send a convincing email. For instance; “buy today at 80% discount”.
If you click and try to make purchases, they will receive all your payment details in their back-end and redirect you to the original website.
You may end up thinking it’s a network issue as you have been redirected, not knowing that you have been scammed.
By this, they now have your credit card details and can easily defraud you.
Ensure you are at the right website URL at all times, especially when you need to make an online payment.
4. Lottery Scam
In a scam of this nature, you may get a phone call, or an email with details that you have won a lottery draws.
Depending on the scope the scammer is using, you may be told to send a certain sum of money before you can claim your prize. This type of scammers makes it hard to believe that it is a scam; they may even have a website, make video calls, and have a series of live interviews with you, to make you pay whatever sum they are asking.
5. Ponzi Scam
A Ponzi scheme is an online investment platform that promises high rates of return with little or no risk to investors.
It is designed in a way that generates returns for existing investors by acquiring new investors.
Most people who are involved in Ponzi investment don’t really understand how it works as long as there is a high level of return they don’t mind.
But most Ponzi scheme lasts only for a short while before crashing once it crashes all who newly invested will lose all their investment.
A scammer can develop a Ponzi website and make it very attractive in the beginning. At a point, he will channel investments gains to himself and make the system crash.
6. Hacking Scam
The hacking scam exists in different ways, depending on which the scammer decides to use.
In most cases, the scammer tries to infest people’s computers with all sorts of viruses -, especially spyware. It will monitor and report all activities done on the infected computer. They may hide the virus in an email attachment or online free download.
To avoid being a victim of this kind of scam, you must have to keep your antivirus up-to-date.
Also, you must be very careful of where you download your files from, and finally never open or download an email attachment from an unknown sender.
How to Easily Identify an Online Scam
“You are already the winner! You need to supply us with some private data to be able to claim your prize. We’ll need your account details so we will be able to deposit your winnings. We’d also like your social security number, for tax functions as well.”
The green statement above is a typical example of an online scam, the “actual” is slightly more subtle and plausible.
Scammers have honed their craft over years and years of trial and error. They’ve discovered what works and what would not.
Most scams have characteristics that are similar or typical.
Let’s check out several indicators of an online scam.
1. If It Seems Too Good to Be True
Everyone knows the popular saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” That is undoubtedly the case with regards to most online scams.
Scammers play on the truth that many individuals would like to get rich quickly. Or by studying easy methods to earn money with minimal effort, or be taught some cash-making secret that nobody else is aware of about.
Scammers dangle the carrot of easy cash, to be able to distract you from their goal. Typically the scammers will not ask you directly for your private data but will ask you to install a software program on your PC.
2. Cash is Concerned
Be it a lottery, prize, sweepstakes, phishing, or reshipping scam; cash is concerned at all times. They could say that you’ve won money, your money is at risk, and so on.
However, the common factor is money. This must be your greatest indicator that you are perhaps looking at a scam. Never ever give out private data to anybody based on an e-mail you received.
Ensure you contact your financial institution at all times, and by no means should you use a real number in an e-mail, or on a website that you were directed to by an e-mail.
3. It’s Very Urgent! ACT NOW! Do not Wait!
Phishing scammers are known for making a false sense of urgency and trying to induce panic to be able to circumvent their victim’s rational thought processes.
Similar to how a sleight-of-hand magician makes use of misdirection, scammers use false urgency to distract you from their true purpose.
Always ensure you critically investigate an e-mail before acting on its content material. Take your time and verify on the Web for key phrases used within the e-mail to see if it is a scam.
If the e-mail claims to come from your financial institution, contact the customer care service number, and NOT the number you got in the e-mail.
4. We Need Some of Your Private Data
Scammers need your data to enable them to steal your identification. Never give out your social security number to who so ever online. You also need to stop giving out any private data in response to an unsolicited e-mail or a pop-up message.
5. Make Use of Fear
Most scammers use fear to deceive or trick you into doing things you would not usually do. They will inform you that something is flawed with your account or your PC to scare you.
Some scammers would even attempt to persuade you that they’re government officers and that you have committed a criminal offense akin to downloading pirated software programs.
They’ll use your fear to trick you into paying a “fine” to make everything OK. However, it’s nothing more than blackmail under pretense.
If somebody online ever threatens to hurt you physically or threatens your loved ones’ safety, then you need to contact your local law enforcement agency as quickly as possible.
10 Greatest Internet Scam Ever Performed
Even though the internet today has helped in making things very easy for a man. The same internet has also created an avenue that has either enriched or destroyed some people.
Today in Nigeria, most individuals and institutions make use of the internet for transacting their daily business without caring much about internet security.
Security of the internet should be the first thing to ensure before using the internet to transact business that is worth pretty much.
High security should be guaranteed in order not to fall victim just as listed below.
No. 10 Russian Criminal Organization Hack
It happened in 2014 when an unknown Russian criminal organization stole about 1.2 billion usernames and passwords. It was a global hack, affecting about 420,000 websites all over the world.
The criminal organization used the information they got to distribute spam and was also willing to sell the information to be used for identity theft and financial scams.
No. 9 Sumitomo Mitsui Bank Robbery
It was in 2004 when a group of hackers with the use of crazy spyware called keyloggers. The spyware was used to steal several account numbers and passwords from the Japanese Sumitomo Mitsui Bank office in London.
The hackers acquired about $420 million, and the money was planned to be distributed to several bank accounts before the scam was discovered.
No. 8 Global Crime Ring $45 Million Theft With Prepaid Credit Cards
Though much information was not acquired on this scam. But a sum of about $45 million was already withdrawn before the fraud came to reality, after which eight people were caught in New York trying to withdraw $2.7 million from an ATM at different locations.
No. 7 Swedish Bank Robbed With Trojan Virus
In this case, Nordea bank customers received phishing emails, which contains Trojan known to be keyloggers.
Any customer who received this email tries to perform an online banking transaction. The hacker will be able to extract all details used in the transaction, including username and password after which the bank customer will receive an error message saying, “Site is down.”
Then the hacker will use the extracted information and withdraw some amount of money or even make purchases.
The criminals finally made away with a total of $943,000, which was about 8 million Swedish Krona.
No. 6 A Man-Made Away With $3 million
A great hacker called “Soldier” used a malware toolkit known as “SpyEye” to steal about $17,000 each day. Soldier hacked into computers of over 3,500 bank customers across three banks.
The affected banks were Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo. After six months, Soldiers amassed $3.2 million in total.
No. 5 $1.3 Million Stolen in Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a digital currency used for online transactions without involving the bank. A company known as “input.io” where people store their bitcoin was infiltrated via their host server, and the hacker involved got away with a total of 4100 BTC, which was equivalent to $1.3 million.
No. 4 Massive Identity Theft in Arizona
Just as it is called “identity theft.” It happened in Arizona in the United States, where some of its citizens had their identities stolen.
No particular sum was stated to be taken, though, vital information was extracted and was used for fraudulent tax returns.
No. 3 Teenagers Stole Over $200 Million
The teenagers involved had information about 411,000 credit cards users. Also, the security of 47 companies, governmental organizations, and many institutions was compromised by the same teenagers.
They nearly got away with $205 million before they were caught.
They were a total of 28 teenagers, the oldest among them was only 22 years of age.
No. 2 TJX 94 million Customer’s Credit Cards Exposed
In 2006, there was a breach of security in some online retail stores owned by TJX Companies, which exposed the information of 94 million customers’ credit cards.
The hacker responsible for this was apprehended and was given a 40 years prison sentence.
No. 1 Heartland Payment Systems Hack
SpyWare was used to infiltrate the system of Heartland Payment System. Heartland handles credit card transactions for many businesses.
This hack had already exposed 134 million credit cards before it was discovered. Imagine if the hacker succeeded in stealing just $5 from each of these credit cards, it would have been a theft of $670 million.