Innovative techniques for defrauding individuals have always flourished on the Internet. Not long ago, hundreds of people all across the world were tricked by Nigerian lottery emails. The theft of personal information and phishing have both been prevalent online for some time. Wait until you hear about the online frauds that have recently become prevalent if you think these schemes are sophisticated.
Why Has Online Scam Activity Increased Recently?
A sizable population was drawn into the internet world as a result of the pandemic acting as a catalyst. Although individuals of all ages are becoming more inclined to use online services, a sizable percentage of people are still making their initial attempts to use the Internet as it currently exists. What other circumstances may provide a better setting for the growth of internet scams? Recently, the already chaotic scams have become even more so. It won’t be offensive to claim that since the pandemic’s inception, subtle and minor online scams have expanded into a thriving industry.
How Can Online Scams Deceive People?
When someone tries to trick you in person, it’s an equal game where both of you have some influence over what happens. You still have the choice to confront the perpetrator and demand your money back if someone connives to steal it from you. As soon as you give your money to an online fraudster, they can very easily disappear into the Internet’s shadowy corners. Given the abundance of knowledge, it is equally challenging for con artists to defraud individuals of their money.
You can investigate the good or service that the con artist is trying to sell you and expose the fraud. Fraudsters use improbable promises to gain your trust. They also make you feel rushed, which makes the victim make poor decisions. In cases where you are making a payment or subscribing to something online, never decide in a hurry.
Regular Online Scams
Online fraud can be committed in a variety of ways, but smartphone app-based fraud has increased dramatically. Because inexperienced internet users frequently trust applications they find on the Google Play Store or the App Store, these stores are home to a large number of scam applications. Some of the common ways to con tech-novice individuals include using shady dating, shopping, gambling, and money lending applications. Other than these, direct conversations with the con artist are required in social engineering-based frauds, which are also prevalent.
A Closer Look at a Few Prevalent Online Frauds:
Personal Loan Apps
Millions of individuals around the world are now financially much worse off as a result of the pandemic. People with stopped income or urgent demands now have a very realistic choice in personal loans. Bank loan financing is a laborious process that calls for a ton of paperwork, the declaration of collateral, the presentation of a nominee, and a protracted waiting period. Personal loan apps, however, assert that it takes them no longer than 15 minutes to approve loans after receiving the required paperwork. What would a person who was struggling financially pick, in your opinion? Through the use of Internet marketing, these programs draw in millions of users. They use every dirty trick in the book to con individuals and force them to pay outrageous interest rates, although the money lending process is incredibly smooth in such applications.
For someone with little financial experience, it would be very difficult to read the loan papers and comprehend all of the stipulations. Additionally, they request permission from your device, including ones that are unnecessary for a loan application. There have been allegations of these programs harassing people by taking images with a smartphone camera (using the camera permission) and distributing them with the victim’s contacts (using the contact permission). Furthermore, once you miss the deadline for repayment, the penalty multiplies exponentially on top of the already exorbitant interest rates. Beware of these fraudulent personal loan applications and only select apps that have received positive government certification and ratings.
A $4.28 trillion sector of the economy called e-commerce is expanding quickly. Numerous scam shopping sites take advantage of the flaws in good SEO, ads, and amazing prices to deceive customers while e-commerce giants have made enormous efforts to attract more people to the e-commerce platform. Today, it’s not too difficult to set up a fraudulent e-commerce site that attracts a sizable number of visitors. Through the use of effective SEO strategies and search engine marketing, scammers can rank their websites on Google. Without careful monitoring of the URL, the links to these websites will appear legitimate to an ordinary user.
Additionally, consumers find their items to be much more alluring because they are typically far less expensive than those of other well-known companies. As with any other website, the one in question will request your basic contact information, including your name, phone number, and email address. You have already given your personal information to persons with bad intentions, even if you decide not to make the payment. The following step is a website redirect to the payment page. And you were right about it! The item you ordered won’t ever arrive at your address. There is no way to get your money back because the contact numbers or email addresses are unresponsive. Typically, these fraudulent websites con consumers out of tiny sums of money. By doing it this manner, not even the victim makes a big effort to get their money back.
Most of us have used search engines to look for terms like “Cheap hotels” or “Cheap flights.” Several dubious or paid search results are present, even though the top search results typically include legitimate websites. Your last-minute travel reservations will be cancelled by these fraudulent websites, and your money will never be returned. When cancelling reservations, these fraudulent platforms frequently allege factors like last-minute pricing increases or technical difficulties on their end. After that, they give you the choice to make a larger payment for the same reservation or to cancel it and begin the refunding procedure.
You enter a cycle of asking for refunds and not receiving them as soon as you choose the cancellation option, just like anyone else who used the website for inexpensive reservations would. The majority of individuals don’t put much effort into trying to get their money back, which is the main source of income for shady travel websites.
Betting and Gambling Scams
Gambling is an extremely addictive activity, and many individuals have lost their entire life savings to it. While there are several winners and many losers in a traditional gambling game, the designer of the gambling platform is the lone winner in an online gambling environment. These apps operate under a simple premise: make someone win big at first, then when they become addicted, rob them until they have nothing left to lose. A player’s chances of winning or losing are based on chance.
The algorithm that powers these gaming platforms is used in this situation. All games played on the platform have their outcomes determined by a specially created algorithm, which also employs the most effective method of defrauding users. Most users experience the same pattern of starting out winning large. If they had made a larger initial investment, the player believes they could have won even more. When that happens, the app’s algorithm takes over and causes the player to lose money. The player then plays to try to make up for their losses, which results in further losses and the cycle keeps going. It is safe to assume that all online gambling platforms employ algorithms that are designed solely to benefit their developers and that using them poses a serious risk to your money.
Dating app frauds are numerous enough to serve as a warning sign for all other scams. There are legitimate dating apps where social engineering fraud occurs, and then there are dating apps that are fraud in and of themselves. Both of these scams deceive thousands of victims into giving money to crooks. It is no secret that even the majority of dating apps have a staggering number of phoney profiles, most of which are used to trick users into giving them money. Fraudsters use every ruse in the book to win your confidence and convince you that the other person is interested in you.
These apps employ individuals to speak with customers and con them into subscribing to their premium services. Other fraudulent websites may send you automated texts and demand payment for additional talks. Beware of all such platforms, and never send money to someone you have only met online without first getting to know them well.
Work From Home Job Scams
Doesn’t that sound like the ideal situation to land a WFH-based job that pays well and requires few skills? That is what many work-from-home scams promise to those looking for a financial safety net. Due to the pandemic’s exponential increase in job seekers, there have been various WFH scams.
Data input job scams are the most prevalent WFH scam. To participate in some of these frauds, you must pay a small fee. One of the worse frauds is when someone gives you a project but later rejects it because of errors. The con artist then demands money from you or threatens to file a complaint, alleging that they have suffered financial losses as a result of mistakes in your work. Such strategies have been used on numerous victims, who have suffered severe losses. Here are a few reliable websites where you can look for remote employment.
Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Scams on The Internet
A successful future is promised by an MLM fraud by blinding the victims. While MLM businesses must sell a variety of goods, they do not use traditional sales techniques. The product is first introduced to the market and advertised in a conventional manner of selling. MLM businesses, on the other hand, deceive customers into purchasing their goods by impersonating staff. The firm wants you to expand the chain and hire more people, which will make you rich very soon.
Scammers are now using terminology like “digital marketing” and “affiliate marketing” to sound legitimate to victims when they conduct this scam online. Such bogus programs with the same old MLM scams labelled differently prey on the less technologically competent public. The victims of these fraudulent schemes are then used to recruit new victims and charge money in the form of a sign-up fee.
Phishing scams con people into transferring money or giving fraudsters their financial information. Since it is now much simpler to transfer money using online payments, these scams have multiplied. The con artists pose as bank representatives or government workers who must confirm your credentials. On used-goods markets like OLX and eBay, more typical phishing scams occur. By giving you the impression that you are receiving the money, the scammers persuade you to transfer their money. Avoid falling victim to phishing schemes and avoid sharing your online passwords with anyone.
Tips for Avoiding Online Fraud:
It is essential to consider solutions to stop internet fraud after learning about all the most recent techniques con artists employ to deceive people. As you browse the Internet, remember the following important considerations:
- Even if a trusted source provides you with a dubious link, avoid clicking on it.
- Use two-factor authentication to secure your social media and email accounts.
- Never divulge any important information to anyone, including passwords, OTPs, and financial credentials.
- Take your time while making online purchases, and make sure to first confirm the legitimacy of the brand or product. The reviews of any well-known product can be found with a quick Google search.
- For an additional layer of security, be sure to employ identity theft prevention software.
- Avoid downloading unauthorized applications from the Play Store or the App Store.
- Don’t give apps unauthorized system access. For example, a camera application shouldn’t need your contact’s consent.
- Don’t be fooled by fantastic online deals. Keep in mind that not everything that shines is gold.
- To secure your browsing, use a security extension for your browser.
Methods for Reporting Internet Scams
You should notify the relevant authorities as soon as possible if you ever become a victim of an internet scam. In almost every country, there is a website dedicated to preventing fraud that makes it simple to report such incidents. The authorities then offer the best suggestions for recouping your losses and preventing future cybercrimes. A few well-known organizations dedicated to preventing fraud are listed below:
Federal Trade Commission, USA
Internet Crime Complaint Center, USA
Action Fraud, UK
Cyber Crime Department, India
Online con artists are always looking for new ways to defraud victims. It is advisable to keep up-to-date on the most recent online fraud techniques and to exercise caution when browsing the Internet. When paying for a good or service, keep in mind to take your time and watch out for any warning signs. Sometimes all these can be exhausting, but we are left with no other option unless we want to return to the medieval era.