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Online Scams, Online Scam Alert, Online Scamming, Online Scammers

Online Scams – How to avoid them

Now a days we hear about scams on a daily basis, however not everybody knows what to look out for. However, educating yourself about Online scams can help you in the long run. Before we start giving you the education, let’s look at some reasons as to why it’s important. Did you know that Online shopping scams was the second most common type of fraud reported by people? In fact, in the early days of the pandemic, Online shopping scams had soared.

In 2020, more than $3.3billion had been lost as a result of Fraud. This had increased from the previous year which was only $1.8 Billion. Nearly $1.2 billion of losses reported last year were due to imposter scams, while online shopping accounted for about $246 million in reported losses from consumers.

Due to the growing volume of e-commerce and online investment activities, this has given rise to more fraudulent activities. With our increasing dependency on the internet, scammers have taken advantage of this and are creating sophisticated scams. From social media scams, to phishing activities, to soliciting people to invest in bogus get-rich-quick schemes, the risk exposure to online scams is escalating. Although technology is making money management more convenient, it’s also important to be aware of the risks when using these online services. Before we delve into how you can point Online scams, let’s understand this type of scam.

What are Online Scams?

Online scams are no different to any other type of scam. The only difference is that an online scam is often spotted on the internet. There are a variety of ways scams can occur. Scams can appear in phishing emails, social media, SMS, Phone calls, and more. The main purpose of these types of scams is to steal money, or personal information from you.

Types of Online Scams:

Staying safe online requires getting into the minds of cybercriminals, and that means identifying and understanding the scams they run.

  1.Online Shopping Scam

It is one of the biggest internet frauds around. Under this, fraudsters set up fake online shopping portals with the intention of cheating people out of their hard-earned money. In the website, they display attractive products at a very cheap rate. But, after placing an order, and parting with your money, you either receive a fake product, or the product never arrives. Fraudulent websites will never have any return or refund policies, and there will be no customer support team to contact.

There are many cases where people have been duped in Online shopping scams. One incident occurred in 2017, a local from Haryana, India was promised a delivery of a product that never turned up. The victim had ordered from a website called bajajfinservloan.com, whilst surfing on OLX India.

 

   2.Crowd Funding Scam

Cybercriminals usually set up fake Startup websites luring people into funding the business in return for investment. The cybercriminals then pocket the money, and there is no investment returns for those who had paid.

Two NGO Organizers were arrested in Humayunnagar for allegedly collecting money for the treatment of ailing persons through crowd funding method.

   3.Sweepstakes Scam

Everybody loves winning, and that’s why Sweepstake scams are a big hit. The cybercriminal makes you think you have won an amazing prize or sweepstake. However, when you go to claim your prize, you need to pay a fee or purchase a merchandise. At the end you are left with nothing, no prize.

Sweepstakes scams usually start with an over-sized envelope in the mail.  It will have your name printed all over the material as being a potential (or an actual) winner. In certain cases, certain direct mail letters will often have pictures of past winners describing how wonderful their lives are now that they are millionaires.

     4. Facebook Friend Scam

It all starts with a Facebook friend request. Ideally, that friend request will be from someone in your existing friend list who you haven’t spoken to or rarely interact with. The fraudsters copy the profile pictures from your friends or family member’s account and use the same to reach you.

Fraudsters create fake accounts on social media and trick people through various methods. A senior citizen in India lost Rs90 Lakhs as a result of fake Facebook friend.

How to Avoid Online Scams

   1. Verify the legitimacy of the site

How many times have you stumbled across a website with prices that are a fraction of the price of major retailers? Whenever you see this, it is usually a warning sign that the site may not be legitimate. To check the legitimacy of the site, type the website name into a search engine and review the results.

Google tends to compile user reviews of high-traffic sites near the top of the search results, so be sure to check these if there are any. Make sure you’re looking at reviews and feedback from sources unaffiliated with the website.

     2. Look at the website’s connection type

A website that has an “https” tag is usually more secure, and therefore more trustworthy than a site using the more common “http” designation. The “s” after “Http” signifies that there is a security certificate associated with the website domain. Most illegitimate sites don’t bother with this. Check the site’s security status in your browser’s address bar.

For most browsers, a “safe” website will display a green padlock icon to the left of the website’s URL. You can click on the padlock icon to verify the details of the website (e.g., the type of encryption used).

     3. Beware of Twitter contests

We’re not saying you should never enter another giveaway on social media, but you should think twice before entering into a Twitter contest. In the past, hackers have taken advantage of Twitter users by rolling out fake contests. If a prize looks to goo to be true, then it probably is. Do your research about the contest. You will often find stories from others who have already fallen for the scam.

     4. Beware of catfishing

These scammers reel you in by portraying a real, authentic person and sending you fake photos and contact information, then asking for money or gifts at some point. Never send money or gift cards to a person you have not met.

      5. Research Crowdfunding sites before investing

Before you part with your money, and decide to invest in a Startup, always do your homework.  Research any crowdfunding campaign to see if others have left feedback, and if they have not delivered on their promises.

 

By taking these steps, you will be able to keep yourself safe whilst online. The trick to saying ahead of the bad guys is to keep yourself educated of the latest scams, and knowing how to spot the signs

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