A few years ago, you were regarded as internet trendy if you ignored mails from kings from Nigeria or adopting dogs from faraway lands. Now times have changed and the distinction between a scam and what happens to be a legitimate online business is not so easy to do as the lines have blurred. From various phishing schemes that are masquerading as legitimate businesses that lure you into fraudulent websites with innocent-looking click-bait images to malware that’s concealed in Wi-Fi hotspots; here are the top internet scams that even the brightest of us fall for.
Fake social network email
This one has been gaining popularity in recent years and distinguishing between a fraudulent email and a genuine one is a difficult task. It may say you have a new urgent notification or that someone is trying to access your account and it needs you to sign in to verify your information. If you click on this link, you will be sent to a fake website and if you sign in on this page, scammers can hack your account and steal your identity and send out spam messages to your family and friends and also use your personal info to extort you.
Scammers have gotten really sophisticated and if they access one of your associate’s email or social media accounts, and send out fake emails to all of the victim's contacts, they often include an attachment. This email will more often than not include an email or an attachment with a link to a fraudulent file-sharing website and tell you to download a file from there. If these files are downloaded, they can spread a destructive malware onto your computer and lock down all the legitimate files on your device and hold it as ransom.
Unexpected friend request
A scammer has the ability to clone a social media profile that belongs to a friend and add you. After confirming the request, the scamster has all access to your personal information and can use it to hack into your bank accounts, such as birthdays, parents’ names and even pets’ names. The con artists can also send out links filled with malware that could tempt you to click them demand money as a ransom.
Free Wi-Fi hotspot
This scam is done by setting up an open-access Wi-Fi hotspot in a coffee shop or other public place that’s linked with their laptop. Once you join their hotspot, this person gets access to your laptop and has the ability to mine it for personal or financial data.
Many of us online have faced this issue. While casually browsing the web, a pop-up opens which scares you into believing that your device is infected with a virus. It tells you to scan your device with a specific anti-virus app that offers to clean the infected machine for a nominal fee. If the said anti-virus app is downloaded, it will install malicious software on your device and the scamsters will have access to your credit card information.
Perfect dating profile
This internet scam is getting rather common and we hope people are getting aware of it. A scamster sets up a fake dating profile with made-up information along with photos and data that are stolen from a real individual. The person then tries to lure you in with messages, photos and calls; but always refrains from meeting up in person as well as needs help paying their monthly bills. If you send them money, you either never hear from them again or they ask for more money.
Help someone in need
A person who is proficient in media sets up a crowdfunding or charity website pertaining to a topic that is getting a lot of traction online. It can range from a natural disaster to a viral story regarding a person in desperate need. They trick you into sharing the link on social media and keep on sending you emails about contributing to the cause. If this link is clicked and you do provide a donation, the scamster can steal your banking information and drain your account dry or pawn it off to others who will.
To sum it up, even if you are extremely careful, identity thieves and hackers can still swipe your personal information so it is necessary to keep yourself informed.