Everything You Need To Know About Online Scams & Romance Scams in 2022
Excerpt: In the US, every one in ten adults falls victim to an online scam everywhere, and 1.3 million children become victims of identity theft. Also, in 2019 phishing attempts grew by 65%, whereas 82% of organizations became subjected to payment fraud. Insane!
Everyone wants to believe that the internet is a safe place, but it is always recommended to do a reality check and watch out for online scams that are increasing now more than ever. We as humans are perhaps the easiest target for malicious scammers as they can reach us faster than ever in today’s world. They can get into your private and professional lives without you having a slight idea. You may be wondering what exactly are online scams? These are different methodologies of fraud facilitated by cybercriminals on the internet in the form of phishing emails, social media, fake tech support phone calls, etc.
The purpose is just to steal, and it can range from credit card theft to identity theft, from data breach to dating scams, and from denial of service to ransomware. The list is never-ending! According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center received 351,936 complaints of internet crimes in 2018, resulting in damages above $2.7 billion. According to a 2017 Federal Trade Commission research, everyone who uses an internet-connected device has the potential to become a victim of an internet scam. Today, the pandemic has led to a 600% rise in online scams where scammers have plagued the internet through various methods.
In the US, every one in ten adults falls victim to an online scam everywhere, and 1.3 million children become victims of identity theft. Also, in 2019 phishing attempts grew by 65%, whereas 82% of organizations became subjected to payment fraud. Insane! If this seems to have caught your attention and you want to learn more about different types of online scams, their history, blacklisted companies to stay away from, and how to avoid falling victim to them, then continue reading! You can thank us later.
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Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: The Evolution Of Online Scams: From Old Times To The Modern Pandemic
Scamming is something that is all around us. However, those scam emails go straight to your junk mail if you are lucky. But this does not always happen, and most of us aren’t fortunate. Do you ever wonder how we got to this point? The scam hasn’t been around forever. Some sources say it started sometime around 1995, and some say it originated even before that.
Five years later, in 2000, phishing came in the form of what is known as Love Bug Struck. Twenty years later, phishing became more popular than ever in stealing data. However, whatever the date may be, these scams were not commonly known by everyday people like us until nearly ten years later, in the 21st century.
According to some sources, merchants tried to claim their issuance in ancient Greek times by sinking their ships. Most historical scams were isolated events, but they have become much more than an everyday concern. We know that online scams have a lot of types. If we talk about phishing mainly, according to internet records, the first time it was recorded was on January 02, 1996. It occurred in a USENET newsgroup called AOhell.
Gradually, with their random credit card number generating racket shut down, phishers did what they were experts at. They would send messages to users that would request to verify their accounts and give access to their billing information. Then, the problem intensified when AIM accounts came into existence through the internet, and then later came the concept of online payment systems. The first attack on online payment systems occurred in June 2001 on E-Gold.
However, it was successful, and in late 2003 phishers registered numerous domains that matched legitimate sites such as Amazon and eBay. They used email worm programs to send spoofed emails to the customers where they were asked to visit scam websites and update their credit card information. How clever!? Later in 2004, phishing was at its peak. Popup windows maliciously acquired sensitive information from victims, leading to increased attacks on banking sites and their customers.
Hence, between the years 2004-05, around 1.2 million users in the US became phishing victims and suffered losses of $929 million. Fast forward to 2008, bitcoin and cryptocurrency were launched, which changed the game of cybercriminals. Today, phishing is recognized as a core part of the black market, and organizations lose about $2 billion every year due to it.
For example, in 2020 early March of 2020, just when there was an outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic, phishing emails were rampant such as fake CDC warnings, working from home, Netflix scams, and fines for breaking quarantine. If you talk about email phishing, it took place in the 1970s and became standard in the 1990s. Since then, scammers have found many ways to steal people in the online world, such as through fake email addresses and data breaches.
The highest amount lost was $47 million. However, online scamming didn’t end with email phishing and online payments; they included phone scams too, which originated in the 1980s. Along with these website hacks, password theft, spyware, and other similar scams on the internet increased at an alarming rate.
CHAPTER 2: Online Dating Scams in 2022 Are Becoming More Creative But Dangerous at The Same Time
Online scam is closely aligned with trends. The ‘newer’ the something, the more likely scams would occur. Perhaps, it is because of the pace of adaptation. Ultimately, as technology advances more, so will online scams. They are a blend of speed, access, awareness, and actions. The world is likely to experience new forms of internet scams, considering that scammers can communicate with one another and victimize for free means.
We can conclude that the fight against online scams is an ongoing battle and is not something that is being faced by our generation only. For as long as money came into existence, so did scams. However, the ease with which online scams occur is why they persist even after 25 years. Also, history speaks for itself and shows that although the delivery methods have evolved over the years, the tactics employed by scammers have been consistent.
People should have learned to avoid falling into such scams by not opening attachments, clicking links, and surrendering login credentials. Yet, it is still popular and costs millions to victims every day. Why?!
What’s a Money Transfer Scam?
Thanks to the introduction of the online banking system and growing digitization, money transfer scams have exponentially risen. They occur when a scammer tricks victims into transferring money from their bank account by acting as a bank or as a legal professional body, and Woah, it’s done!
According to UK finance, around 208m pounds were stolen from money transfer scams in 2019. Scammers are on the lookout for those who can assist them in transferring stolen funds. They log on to online dating, job hunting, and social media sites, create fictitious profiles, and invent reasons to send you money, typically in a check or Bitcoin.
Afterward, they instruct you to transfer the funds to a third party through gift cards or wire transfers. You may even receive a letter or an email from a scammer asking you to help them transfer a considerable amount of money overseas. People fall into this trap because they are promised a share of that money if they provide them with the bank information; however, they never receive it and lose all that was initially invested.
Aside from that, using a scammer’s money to purchase gift cards and then handing over the PINs or sending wire transfers is nearly the same as transferring cash. In all instances, the scammer obtains the funds rapidly, making it roughly hard to reclaim the funds.
Nevertheless, the scenarios and stories they make up to trap you are insane and change constantly. Still, by seeking awareness and gaining knowledge about the most common scams, particularly money transfer scams, you can save yourself, your friends, and your loved ones. There are numerous methods that scammers can use to commit the crime of money transfer scams, for example, phishing, lottery sweeps, online dating, social media, charity money transfer scams, stranded travelers, and so many more.
Starting from the most common, phishing, it is the type of scam where scammers asked personal details via emails, such as passwords and bank details, by posing as verified companies and intimate trusted contacts such as the victim’s bank so that the victim provides sensitive information that further could be used to make unauthorized transfers to the scammer’s account.
Then, lottery and sweeps is a kind that includes the victim thinking as if they have won a lottery or sweepstake and they have to provide their banking details and pay a fee in advance before they receive the prize. Moving forward to Online Dating is the worst of all. People get their wallets emptied and hearts broken in search of love. The scammers act as a love interest on an online dating site and earn the trust of the bank transfer scam victims. They show as if they are helping the victim, and for that, they need money into their bank, when in reality, it is just a scam they practice after an emotional bond has been established.
In addition to this, all of the world, particularly teens, are becoming so addicted to social media that they easily get targeted and are pulled into money transfer scams. Scammers usually target under 25s with no criminal history by offering them a ‘get rich quick’ deal whereby the victim agrees to have money placed in their bank account later following instructions to transfer them in exchange for payment.
Nonetheless, even if the victim is unaware of what is going on, they are still committing a crime by allowing their bank account to be used for illegal activities. People should be alert at all times. There are many typical features of a money transfer scam, such as unprofessional communication.
People are encouraged to watch out for grammatical errors in emails and texts from scammers. Along with grammatical mistakes, they come with wrong links, such as links to click on an email/text, which is a phishing link leading to the victim being tricked into providing personal information and bank details. Clicking these links can trigger viruses that can infect the victim’s device with malware that captures all data, such as passwords and credit card details. How low could someone get!?
Moreover, scammers are skilled in creating a sense of urgency around the situation. They even blackmail the victim in the form of job losses and kidnapping. Also, in some cases, they try to model themselves as trusted contacts such as the police or bank. Lastly, there is another typical attempt scammers make. They act as ‘relatives’ in need of help when the victim receives a desperate phone call or email from someone working as a grandchild or friend.
They come up with reasons such as they have been arrested overseas, they are mugged, or they have been kidnapped. If you ever go through such a situation, immediately call the friend or relative they claim to be, and straightaway refuse to send money via wire transfer. Consumers in the US lose millions of dollars each year to scammers using wire transfers as part of their scams. Western Union, Money Gram, and other similar businesses allow you to send money instantly. As much as their services are helpful, scammers try to take advantage of victims by convincing them to transfer money to a person often residing in a foreign company.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a money transfer, we encourage you to immediately contact your bank and ask them to secure your credit card information. Also, please be aware of red flags. Don’t transfer money to an online romantic interest that sends you money in exchange for your time. That is always a hoax, and it is intended to trick you into moving stolen funds. According to the FTC, accepting a job requiring you to transfer money or packages is not a good idea, even if they tell you to send money to a “customer” or “supply,” according to the FTC. You could be assisting a scammer in transferring stolen money or gift cards.
Don’t take a grant or prize award unless you can give some of the money to someone else. That’s yet another ruse to entice you to transfer stolen funds. If you suspect that you are a victim of this scam, immediately cancel the financial transaction and cease all communication with the individual. Inform your financial institution, wire transfer agency, and any gift card businesses as soon as possible. If a scammer has obtained your bank account details, you should close your account quickly.
HAVE YOU BEEN SCAMMED AND NEED HELP IN FIGHTING BACK?
Scammers can create complex scams that can trap even the most cautious of people. But it’s not too late because we can help you track the damage done by scammers. We can help you get your money back!
Online Dating Scams
Love hurts for real!
As Valentine’s Day approaches, millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites in the hope to meet someone. However, instead of meeting a lover, they fall into the trap of a scammer and of what is known as; dating scams. It is simply when a person believes they’re in a romantic relationship with someone they met online. The scammer uses the illusion of an intimate and romantic relationship to exploit the victim. Disgusting, we know! Perhaps they exist due to the growing power of digitalization.
As the real world approached more towards the digital world in the coronavirus pandemic, self-seeker hackers found a chance of conducting fraudulent activities like these. In these difficult times, when the internet tried to be our lifeline in these difficult times, some highly fake people were quick enough to take advantage, perhaps because pandemics limited the ability to meet in person.
Nonetheless, issues due to dating scams reached around £80 million, receiving almost 32000 reports. Older people often become victims of this scam, and some don’t even realize it until it’s too late. In 2020, the Federal Trade Commission recorded $304 million in losses from online dating scams. This is an increase of around 50% over the previous year. Con artists build fictitious profiles on dating websites and apps or contact their victims through popular social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Google Hangouts.
The fraudsters establish a relationship with their victims to gain their trust, sometimes communicating or chatting with them multiple times a day. Then they concoct a lie and approach you for money. Scammers request payment by wire transfer, reload card or gift card is requested by scammers so that they can obtain cash quickly and stay anonymous. They also understand that it is nearly impossible to undo the transactions.
A big big thanks to online dating scams, your search for love, but what do you even get? Empty bank balances, that’s it. However, sometimes others who are not looking for love and are on other social media platforms get scammed, and they say it all starts with an unexpected friend request. Strange! However, it all begins with a fake profile.
Scammers put on appealing displays and begin reaching out to the victims by claiming similarities with them, shared interests, and a mutual connection, Woah. Once they have built a deeper understanding and so-called ‘relationship,’ they start asking for money. Sooner or later, they for sure do. They are extra skilled at playing with emotions, and their stories are endless, putting never-ending pressure on the victims. In fact, with the uprising of Covid 19, some people even claimed money for medical emergencies when in reality, they were doing perfectly fine.
You think you are helping someone when you are just getting yourself stolen. Some of the most common examples of dating scams include fake dating sites filled with enormous scammers, even if they claim to be legitimate. Another famous example is photo scams, where the scammer pressures and convinces the victim to send their contact information in exchange for the intimate photos of the scammer. How cheap!!? Do you know what is so unfortunate yet true?
Online dating scams statistics depict that too many people have been in love that never ended in a ‘happily ever after’. In 2020 alone, due to covid and increased isolation periods, nearly 24000 people became victims, with almost 32000 reports. People have lost up to $304 million. Moreover, in 2021, the average individual loss was over $2400. You can lose up to millions which is a lot of money! You may think the money you lost is impossible to recover.
You may feel a long-lasting emotional betrayal, but it’s okay. You are unique and worthy of love. Scammers are the masters of manipulation. They are always hiding behind masks and can go miles to ruin your lives. They can steal your video footage while video calls and blackmail you for life. In extreme cases, they can go to the extent of kidnapping later using confidential information to access your social media and bank accounts. How scary.
Watch out for the red flags; you never know how smoothly scammers have set traps for you. So, how is it possible that someone is so madly in love with you within a few days and that too online? Not in the real world? It’s nowhere closer to any possibility. Therefore, if someone confesses their feelings to you after a few conversations, move away slowly. Sometimes, the person wants to leave the dating website and talk with you through text messaging. It’s a clear sign to leave them right away. Also, their messages are very poorly written; they depict no interest.
Moreover, they do not keep promises. If someone just makes one excuse not to meet you, it shows how disinterested they are. The scammer would overload you with attention, too many texts and calls. Lastly, they would lean towards asking for things. Sometimes it starts with smaller amounts, and then the process is never-ending. Also, when it comes to declaring an intimate attachment, dating sites fraudsters move swiftly.
Within one short amount of time, they might express that they adore the user because of the claim of feeling a strong connection and close relationship with them. Everything is due to the underlying deception that goes into a fake profile on dating services. That is why individuals who are already fragile and solitary are just such good options because they crave companionship. In addition to this, they only have a few photographs on their accounts, and those that do appear to be modeling or glamor generic shots.
Scammers study or reside in some other nation, even though you seek individuals in your neighborhood. Numerous con artists argue to be joining the army in another country. Scammers check and get back to some other product or webpage that you can use. Many fraudsters avoid cyberstalking in favor of more effective methods of target exploitation. This is particularly the case in online dating, wherein robot accounts are shared.
When a mate offers you an URL to something like an application, tool, business, or blog that they claim you should explore, it’s usually a ruse to like you to provide banking details or install viruses. Fraudsters use it as a dating site equivalent to hacking, and it’s a common approach on hookup culture applications such as Tinder. Don’t ever send money or gifts to a romantic interest which you haven’t met face to face yet. If you believe you are the victim of a romantic scam, stop interacting with the person as soon as possible.
Talk to someone you can trust about your new love interest, and pay attention if your friends or family members express concern about your new relationship. Also, check the internet for stories about the person’s job to see whether other people have heard similar tales about them. If someone’s profile photo is paired with another identity or with details that don’t match up, that’s a red flag that they’re being conned. Sometimes your friends or loved ones may also show signs of being involved in a dating scam. For example, they start showing extreme emotions and loyalty towards someone they just met.
Never let go of them and follow up. Secondly, they may begin to hide away things and get self-isolated. Aggressiveness becomes a standard part of their everyday nature. Lastly, they would start to send money to people they had never even met. Wake up, time to get active!
Automated Trading Systems - A Curse for Sure
Trading online is all easy and great until you fall into a scam. Auto trading, in its literal terms, refers to participating in financial markets to make money with the help of an automated trading system. These scams are high in online trading, fuelled by many scammers who are experts in running trade anonymously. Thus, people need to do their detailed investigation and diligence before diving into the complex version of global markets.
One should question themselves, ‘is it better to trade manually?’ because the word automation may seem simple when it is much more complex in reality. You should know what you are getting yourself into and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Auto trading is closely linked with trading in the forex market and forex, also known as FX trading, simply deals with the fluctuations in exchange rates.
You need a forex brokerage account if you plan to invest in it. The forex market is an international market where currencies are traded 24 hours a day, five times a week, Monday till Friday. No physical exchange occurs; hence all currency trading is done over the counter (OTC) (as there is for stocks). Individual actors without firms who position themselves as broker companies are more likely to be involved. They have frequently seasoned Internet users capable of fabricating misleading information on the sites they construct. The owners of such scam websites do not have a license and are hence unregulated.
They may not even have a fundamental understanding of the Forex market. However, not everything is clear to a beginner trader who does not have a background in economics or finance. Fraudulent promotional schemes and overstatement of returns give rise to forex scams that can prove extremely dangerous. Scammers are often individuals without companies pretending to be broker companies.
Without any license, education, and even basic knowledge of the forex market, they can suffer huge losses worth millions with fabricated false information. However, identifying forex scams today is not as difficult as it used to be. If a company promises you big profits, has fake ratings, seems like a dubious business with no reputable reputation and unprofessional practices, know right away that it’s a trap! Also, with auto trading comes trading in cryptocurrency. With the growing influence of information technology, people have been attracted to the trend of bitcoin and cryptocurrency in the forex market.
Unfortunately, in an attempt to be the best in the foreign exchange market and to achieve instant success and popularity, brokers tend to become non other than what is known as; scammers. One should know that yes, they come with benefits but at the same time with a significant risk of forgery and scamming too.
Shedding some light on cryptocurrency itself is different from a credit card or other methods. Firstly, payments made through it are not reversible. Once you have paid, the amount has gone. Therefore, before you make the payment, it is essential to research the seller as much as possible. Where he is located, his contact, and especially the customer reviews! While you try to protect yourself, some transactions will always be public. Transaction details are recorded on a ‘blockchain’ general list of receipts and payments. It could include your address. Thus, when investing, you need to confirm they’re blockchain. Scams are everywhere online.
Today, Internet users keep blacklists of Forex fraudulent brokers up to date and publish them regularly. More than $6 trillion in investment is scammed daily, indicating that forex attracts many scammers to the industry whose main objective is to steal their client’s money. These scammers work with long-term planning. They target only some people and leave some people in a happy state to prove their loyalty in front of the world. There is a never-ending list of advantages to auto trading, for example, diversified trading, improved order entry speed, minimized emotional trading, and the perseverance of traders’ discipline. However, on the contrary, one should not forget that the system may break and depreciate, resulting in adverse consequences.
Is it better to trade manually?
Hence, it can not be said that it is better to trade manually because everything comes with its risks. If the investment is a process, then automation is a logical conclusion. However, one should take precautions before becoming a part of automated trading, such as starting with small investments and continuing if the process goes smoothly. They should not make the mistake of committing all their funds right away. Also, look for the broker’s unfavorable reviews. It would be best to get a comprehensive picture of any broker, so look for negative ratings and positive reviews.
You can locate these by adding the word ‘scam, bad’ to your search. One person’s terrible experience does not necessarily imply that you will have a negative experience, but it will give you a fuller picture. And most importantly, look out for other customer complaints about not being able to withdraw money. It is a red flag for a scam, but try to reach out to the user and inquire about their experience before passing judgment. Although appealing for various reasons, automated trading systems should be very carefully dealt with.
One should not ignore that technology failures can happen, so the systems require monitoring daily. Never dive into auto trading without having some trading experience and knowledge!
WORRIED THAT SOMEONE HAS YOUR PERSONAL & BUSINESS INFORMATION?
With how easy it is for scammers to acquire your data, it’s reasonable to be alarmed. Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting advice from experts. We will guide and even help you get your money back from scammers.
Ransom Attacks On A Spike
Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts files and documents on anything from a single PC to an entire network, including servers. Victims are provided with a choice; they can either regain access to the encrypted network by paying a ransom to the criminals behind the ransom attack or just hope that there is a chance of a decryption key. Ransom attacks are among the most prominent cybersecurity problems on the internet and one of the most effective forms of cybercrimes faced by organizations today. They may start with someone inside the organization clicking on a link or an attachment leading to multiple downloads of malicious payloads.
Some ransom attacks use software exploits and cracked passwords to access an organization’s flaws, such as remote-desktop logins to gain access and internet-facing servers. Scammers hunt the network to encrypt as much as they can. Ransomware is a big business. The outbreak coronavirus pandemic has changed the world and has given rise to remote work, increasing the cyberattacks exponentially. With more people working from home, scammers increased their attacks. The headline for 2020 has been ransom attacks up to 150% over the last year. Victims of these attacks suffered losses of massive amounts, increasing by more than 300%.
Today, the world is experiencing a dramatic increase in ransom attacks against private companies, critical infrastructure, and municipalities.
How do ransom attacks work?
There are several ways by which ransomware can take access to the computer. One of the most common delivery systems is phishing spam, where attachments come to the victim through email, masquerading as a file they need to trust. As soon as they are downloaded, they have all access to the victims’ devices. This ease of spreading ransomware in email is why it is a typical attack. Some software even has security holes that are used to infect computers without needing to trick users. In extreme cases, the attacker may claim to be a law enforcement agency shutting down the victims’ device by giving reasons such as the presence of pornography, later demanding the payment of a ‘fine.’
If you’ve been a victim of online scam you can contact us for support!
This prevents people from going to the police and reporting to authorities because it makes them think they are at fault. However, some attackers do not even deal with making up stories, and they straight away threaten the victim to publicize their sensitive and personal data if they do not pay on the given time. These scammers could target victims of various backgrounds. For instance, sometimes they are universities and occasionally big organizations. It all depends on how large the security teams are of the victim and how much ransom they are likely to pay. For example, if there has been a ransom attack on a law firm, they would be most likely to pay as soon as possible, considering the sensitive data they contain.
How do we prevent ransom attacks?
Good security practices are the key. Make sure your operating system is patched and up to date so that there are very few vulnerabilities to exploit. Also, install antivirus software designed for detecting malicious programs to help prevent them from executing in the first place. Moreover, organizations should do extensive research before installing software, as they should be aware of what it is and what it does. They should also review their incident response plan, their cyber insurance policy and establish a communication channel on a secure texting app within the organization’s departments.
The company should train employees to identify phishing emails to help prevent an insider attack. Lastly, backup your files! Frequent and automatic backup of files can mitigate the severity of damage caused by a ransom attack to a large degree. Hence, these are unprecedented times in the world of cybersecurity. Every member of audit committees and senior management says that they never imagined days like these would exist where they would have to pay vast sums of money to the attackers.
Nonetheless, with the incredible existence of cybersecurity and a proper plan, companies can reduce the risk, preparing them to face colossal ransom attacks. Companies should link themselves with cloud security dedicated to securing cloud computing systems. It helps to keep data private and safe across all platforms.
Composed of data security, legal compliance, governance, identity, and access management (IAM), it can help enable data recovery in case of data loss and protect the companies against malicious data theft. Thus, cloud security becomes essential to install to guarantee convenience over security and multi-tenant storage. Although ransom attacks have been around since the 90s, they have spiked in the last ten years. For example, one of the worst attacks happened in 2013, known as the CryptoLocker attack, which infected up to 500000 machines.
Today, Thanos is the most recent ransomware on the list discovered in mid of the year 2020. It helps to bypass most anti-ransomware methods. In modern times, you can even get ransomware on your smartphones. The scams against android devices have increased significantly because the scammers thought many people would not be aware that their phones could be hacked, perhaps because most of us keep our stuff in our computers and laptops.
Should I pay a ransomware ransom?
Even though the law instructs not to pay the ransom in any case, some say they should pay immediately to retrieve the scammed data as soon as possible. As straightforward as it may seem, it can have long-term consequences. How? If the word gets out that your company paid the ransom instantly, scammers would think of it as the easiest target. Also, the most significant risk of paying is never receiving cipher keys to decrypt data. How does it feel to be out of money and still not have decryption keys!?
Pop Up Ads/ Window Scams
Does this ever happen to you? You’re browsing online, perhaps shopping or watching a movie and a pop-up ad appears out of nowhere claiming that your device is infected with a lot of viruses. Beware, it’s a scam! It is not just phone calls, emails, and texts that lead to online scams, Pop Up Ads can be equally dangerous too! While browsing, pop-up warnings saying that your device may be infected with viruses or other similar dire statements should be dealt with properly. They contain dire warnings that your computer is infected with hundreds of viruses, or that these viruses will immediately cause your computer to crash. It’s asking you to contact a fake tech support number or download a fake antivirus.
Anything that tells you to ring a phone number, click a ‘scan now’ button and pay for a protection plan is a scam. It is fear-mongering to make you click or call instead of being based on a real scan of your device. One of the most common Pop Up Ads is in the form of lottery and sweeps that includes the victim thinking as if they have won a lottery or sweepstake and they have to provide their banking details and pay a fee in advance before they receive the prize. These scammers will often ask to pay for tech support or other services with a gift card or a wire transfer. It might be a red flag because no legit company would ask for payment in such a way. The content of these Ads is what makes them so effective.
They come up with unsuspecting website visitors with some kind of fraudulent warning, usually regarding the computer or the websites they visit. Later they either ask the visitor to download a link to fix the issue such as anti-virus software or ask them to call a fake phone number for ‘support’. For example, a bank client once googled a company’s name where he came across a phishing link inside a pop-up message instructing him to call a phone number for bank security. He fell into the trap and called the number where a scammer picked up and identified himself as a bank representative. He asked the victim to enter his credentials so he could get access to his computer and prevent him from falling into the scam. As soon as he did, the computer screen went black. The victim suffered a huge loss of around $10,000.
How to deal with the most annoying pop-ups in the world?
What can businesses do to keep their employees from falling for Pop Up scams? What can you do? Everyone is recommended to run a scan with their security software such as cloud security or cybersecurity to check for viruses. To check for any threats that may have been missed in regular scans, more software could be installed. However, even if you have these installed one can not ignore the fact that Pop-ups would still occur. The software ensures that your computer is disinfected but this does not mean the website you are visiting is not infected too.
Do not follow anything a pop-up says, whether it’s signing up for a service, calling someone, or using your card to pay for something brought up by the Ads. Even clicking X to close the window may not work as it could download multiple malware to your device. Instead, press CTRL + Shift + Esc. Also, if you are ever in doubt about the authenticity of the message you have seen from a vendor, contact them directly or contact your IT support team and never give remote access to someone to your devices unless you really trust them.
CHAPTER 3: Online Scams Have Caused Damages Worth $2.7 Billion
Money doesn’t always buy happiness, and it can sometimes cost you millions and billions. Online scams are rising and costing victims hundreds and thousands of dollars through Internet services or software with Internet connectivity to defraud victims or otherwise take advantage of them, referred to as Internet fraud. Thanks to the growing power of the internet, digitalization, and social media, it has never been this easy to find so many online scam victims at one time. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center received 351,936 complaints of internet crimes in 2018, resulting in damages above $2.7 billion. According to a 2017 Federal Trade Commission research, everyone who uses an internet-connected device has the potential to become a victim of an internet scam.
Still, millennials may be more prone to losing money. Nearly 40% of those who reported fraud were between the ages of 20 and 29 and reported losing money. In comparison, 18 percent of respondents aged 70 and older said they had lost money due to fraud. People aged 80 and beyond, on the other hand, tended to lose more money – the median reported loss was $1,092, compared to $400 for those aged 20 to 29.
We do not wish you and your loved ones to unplug from the internet, but we expect everyone to stay safe in this growing world of e-commerce. Scammers do not deliver goods to their clients when it comes to online scams happening in shopping. Some popular reasons are that the companies never deliver money and steal your private information, such as credit card passwords, which all scammers do.
They convince clients to purchase, but as soon as they do, problems arise. The website owner sometimes uses a service to hide their identity, making it challenging to identify who the actual owner is. Thus, websites hiding their identity create suspicions and give rise to the chances of getting blacklisted. Moreover, the websites prone to online scamming have low visitors and are located on a server in high-risk countries. You must be wondering what high-risk countries are?
According to the International Banking Federation, these companies have higher levels of fraud and corruption. In addition to this, an overpayment scam is one of the kinds of online scams. The way this works is that, at first, a transaction appears to be authentic. You receive a response to your internet advertisement from someone who expresses interest in purchasing an item you are offering.
When you receive a check for more than the purchase amount, the buyer invents a rationale for doing so and then demands that you wire back the difference before the funds clear your bank account. After you’ve repaid the difference, it becomes evident that the money you were transferred was fictitious and you’re out the money you handed the scammer. Another example is a quick-money promise scam. This scam may begin with a phone call, a LinkedIn message, or an unsolicited email that promises a job that requires little to no real effort but pays well and offers a large sum of money quickly.
Criminals who engage in this fraud frequently prey on those who are seeking a new job or who want to work from home. However, once you have been hired, you will be required to complete standard paperwork in which you will be requested to enter your Social Security number, address, and bank information, ostensibly in order to receive your paycheck via direct deposit.
This personal information can be used by scammers to get access to your financial accounts and steal money. There’s more to it than that. Your new position may expose you to the possibility of participating in a money-laundering operation without your knowledge. According to a resource, a woman named Ayra Tilbury was a full-time housewife and mother of two kids, but as soon as his husband lost her mother due to covid in early March, she asked him to take a bereavement break and started working as a sales specialist in a firm.
At the age of 28, she managed all the house expenses and had a considerable amount of her husband’s savings in her bank account. When his birthday approached, Ayra Tilbury wanted to buy gifts during the pandemic to make things easier and happier for everyone else at home. However, the odds proved not to be in her favor, and a very well-organized group of scammers led her into a $7500 payment scam.
Whatever she ordered was lost. Ayra says that the AD on Facebook came with a compelling story about the company and its customer service. As she scrolled through the advertisement looking at fake happy reviews, she felt her spirits lifting. Furthermore, a woman lost her husband during the pandemic, who left a wife and four kids behind. To make living smooth and in an attempt to make her financial condition better, she thought of starting a business for stitching clothes. Thus, she ordered five machines worth $400 each from a blacklisted company but never received them. How devastating?!
She lost all to these scammers and had to close her business before it even started. However, what mistake she made was not reporting on time. She gave up and declared her complaint after a year when the company was about to get blacklisted. If she had taken action before, it would have helped track down the scammers, perhaps leading to getting her money back.
Unfortunately, in today’s online market, there are many unprofessional and unscrupulous scammers. Online scams are rising and there are many types of them of which you need to be aware!
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CHAPTER 4: You Can Protect Yourself From Online Scams
Scams will undoubtedly continue to exist as long as people fall for them. By following some guidelines below, you can safeguard yourself and your bank account.
Make sure you finish your homework
Everything should be read and inspected. Always read the website carefully. If an offer appears to be suspect or too good to be true, it most likely is.
Maintain the security of your desktops and mobile devices
The most effective defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats is to utilize the most up-to-date security software, web browser, and operating system available. Automatic updates should be enabled to ensure that you receive the most up-to-date patches as soon as they become available.
Create passwords that are difficult to guess
When creating a password, make sure it is at least eight characters long and has a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Personal information should be kept private. The password reset tools can be hacked using social media profiles to figure out your passwords and the answers to the security questions in the password reset tools.
Lockdown your privacy settings
Avoid posting personal information such as birthdays, residences, mother’s maiden name, and other such details. Keep an eye out for requests to connect from persons you don’t recognize. Personal information should not be shared. Scammers can gain access to practically every facet of your life if they have the correct information. This includes taking your identity as well as money and other accounts. Never give up account information, social security numbers, credit card numbers, or passwords to strangers unless you know who they are and the request is valid.
Make sure your internet connection is secure
Always use a password to protect the Wi-Fi network in your home. Use caution when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks and be aware of the information you are transferring across the network.
Shop with caution
Before making a purchase on the internet, ensure that the website is protected by secure technology. When you go to the checkout screen, look to see if the site address begins with the letters HTTPS. Aside from that, look for the presence of a small locked padlock icon on the website and the other red flags. Numerous online stores claim to sell various items at huge discounts! It might be a red flag indicating that they are scams. Stay away from such stores or at least research before you purchase because later they do not deliver the item or deliver something precisely opposite what you ordered, having inferior quality. Also, some of these stores even charge the client without their consent which is pathetic! People are advised to stay away from such websites because those who purchase from these put themselves at the risk of receiving counterfeit goods.
Those who have already been victims of such sites are encouraged to have their transactions canceled and money refunded. Not only this, but they should also have their banks help them prevent the cybercriminals who are operating the website from continuously charging their credit cards. In addition, customers are encouraged to never pay in advance when making an order.
To avoid becoming a victim of a money transfer scam, avoid making any advanced payments. Many scammers will ask for money upfront for a promised payout, but they will never deliver. By keeping your prices paid to a minimum, you can protect yourself against these criminals. Be careful when transferring money online – many scams involve victims making advance payments. You can avoid being scammed by waiting until the received product or service.
When transferring money, it’s essential to be aware of scams that can rob you of your hard-earned cash. One of the most common scams is when someone asks you to wire money in advance for some bogus reason. Avoid this by only transferring funds after you have received the product or service you paid for. When making transactions, always review transactions with a privacy filter. For securing access, one also opts for installing anti-virus software to avoid security breaches. Be cautious when sending a wire transfer. Ask yourself if the payee is a natural person or not. Do not access online banking sites from public computers or open wireless networks.
Constantly update security software on your computer if you have an active virus detection program, especially if you do business online and use email. Always trust your instincts, and do not be afraid to report suspicious activity to the authorities in your country. If you feel compelled to travel to a foreign country, visit online sites for valuable tips on how to avoid scams while abroad.
Take a look at the website's privacy policies
Do not access online banking sites from public computers or open wireless networks. Constantly update security software on your computer if you have an active virus detection program, especially if you do business online and use email. Always trust your instincts, and do not be afraid to report suspicious activity to the authorities in your country. If you feel compelled to travel to a foreign country, visit online sites for valuable tips on how to avoid scams while abroad.
In addition to this, If you suspect you’ve been the victim of an online scam, you must act swiftly. If you find yourself in either of the following scenarios, you should contact your financial institution immediately: Debit or a credit card was used to make the payment. A bank transfer was used to make a payment. Goods have not been delivered, but payment has been made. Personal details were divulged. You should also notify the recovery agencies about the scam so that they can start investigating and, if feasible, reclaim your funds. This may also assist others in avoiding becoming victims of the same scams.
Nevertheless, these days, almost everybody with a credit card in their possession wants to safeguard themself from falling victim to such scams. The good news is credit cards are now more secure than they have ever been, thanks to the efforts of regulators, card issuers, and banks who have invested a significant amount of time and effort in collaborating with investigators throughout the world to guarantee that fraudsters are not successful.
Cardholders’ money is often protected from scammers through regulations that hold the card supplier and the bank responsible. Scammers can be so clever and persuasive that they get detailed information from your social media accounts. Be aware! Victims of such companies lose hundreds and thousands of dollars because they fall into the trap due to their lack of experience.
However, it is never too late to learn. You can always protect yourself and your loved ones before investing research on the company’s license, regulation policies, and stuff. Lastly, as e-commerce scams are a big part of online scams, people should research their consumer rights.
They should know that when they shop online and dive into E-commerce, they are protected under consumer law, and companies or websites are obliged to abide by these rights, or you can sue them. People as consumers are entitled to certain information before making a purchase, such as the total price of the product, including any taxes or delivery charges, arrangements of payment and delivery, the complaints handling policy, and the estimated cost of the return if the goods cannot be returned through a standard post.
Moreover, for digital content such as books or computer programs, the consumer has the right to have detailed information regarding software, hardware, and copyrights protection. Also, the consumer is entitled to receive written confirmation of the transaction either through email or paper-based. Moreover, a consumer has a right to cancel the order within fourteen days without providing the company with a reason.
This right to cancel is called a ‘cooling-off-period,’ and the customer must be refunded within this period, including standard delivery costs. However, it should be considered that during Covid 19, many companies even extended their return policies, allowing customers to return after the shops reopen. Thus, consumer rights give you protection even after you have purchased the product either over the phone, online or at your doorstep by post. These provide you with a statutory to cancel and return faulty products if you are not satisfied. In a nutshell, people are encouraged to transfer money ONLY to the people they know personally and enable security features like multi-factor authentication to all their accounts.
Also, they should watch out for red flags; you never know how smoothly scammers have set traps for you. No phone calls, copycat photos, and a price too reasonable to be true could be helpful. Hence, there is no guaranteed method for preventing online scams, but there are always some ways to ensure the mitigating of adverse consequences they cause such as those discussed above, and by following those you can save yourself to a large degree!
CHAPTER 5: Top 4 Blacklisted Online Scam Companies Who Have Been Stealing Millions From Innocent Individuals
Paying electronically is far more accessible, convenient, and safe than the traditional method. It reduces the health and safety concerns due to a contactless transaction, especially during these times of covid 19. But you cannot ignore the severe consequences that come with it; scams. Around $29.8 billion is stolen from Americans each year through payment scams, sometimes it is a widow with a heartbroken story of losing all her money in an attempt to save her dying husband, or it’s a person losing all of their savings just because someone got access to their accounts.
One of the firms with the dirtiest track record is companyforyouthsome.com. It is a website that belongs to a popular marketing niche. They describe themselves in the following words: ‘This website is trendy and has extensions in my languages or login credentials on the homepage. As a result, chances are you are already familiar with it, so you can continue to use it safely.’ It has been blacklisted due to the non-delivery of goods to its clients. There is a list of complaints saying that they scam people. Some popular reasons are that they never deliver money and steal your private information, such as credit card passwords, which all scammers do. Talking about the current situation, the biggest scam of the decade, companyforyouthsome.com on the platform, has been stopped.
According to customers, companyforyouthsome.com defrauded victims of millions of dollars each year, and they continued to plague the Internet through various means. One of their customers complained that everything was fine for a year without any problems and she continued shopping in an attempt to become one of the most loyal customers. But soon afterward, when she placed a huge order, her account got blocked, resulting in a loss of $10000.
Another blacklisted company in the world of e-commerce is Kiaasc.com. They have been designated as an illegal website engaged in criminal and fraudulent acts and have been identified as a scam website by the authorities. Initially, It was well-known for providing goods and services to consumers, but this later resulted in significant losses and clearing funds in the customer’s account. There have also been multiple complaints from people having significant problems getting a refund when their goods failed to be delivered such as the email address they provided as their contact details on the website was the email address of many proven blacklisted companies, such as Foryouthsome.com.
This website and several others, such as Sole get, Poisly, Set coming, SuperGoMall, and VStroll, is run by serial cybercriminals. Also, their website theme, script, and contact details matched these scam websites, proving it is run by the same person and is a scam. Secondly, they provided their customers with the option of shopping for their products using credit cards.
But at the same time, they did not come up with security measures to protect the client’s credit card information. One of the Kiaasc.com scam victims was a 60-year-old senior who lost $6000 after not withdrawing his money. Moreover, several customers have complained about the website’s failure to deliver goods and the loss of money from their trading accounts. The website has also been accused of making purchases on behalf of customers without their authorization and fraudulently billing registered credit cards.
Apart from e-commerce, forex scams are also a component of online trading, fuelled by many scammers who are experts in running trade anonymously. One of the blacklisted companies here is BitOptions 24. According to the BitOptions website, this broker is Europe’s leading online and mobile consumer. It is claimed that they use cutting-edge technology and data to provide comprehensive services to traders in over 17 countries.
There is also a provision for a company certificate to demonstrate that they are registered, but BitOptions 24 is a scam that has received multiple warnings. The website and offerings may appear authentic to novice traders, but the truth is that it is a site lacking specific information and promising unrealistic profits to naïve users. One of the clients, Marco, mentioned that he funded his account with USD1,000 and made a profit of $500.
BitOptions analysts told him to open an oil position with all the money he had invested because apparently, the investor was so sure about oil appreciation in the future. However, what happened was precisely the opposite of what was promised. The oil depreciated, and he lost everything while the broker won. Moreover, BitOptions were known to block accounts when clients’ balances increase. In another case, Rafeh mentions he has been hoping to withdraw his profits of $570 for the last month, but BitOptions Markets did not pay the money. He says that initially, they offered support with the ‘line thing’ but later blamed her for not providing them with all the support documents. Ridiculous!
Similarly, a client named Marco invested around $700 in his friends’ recommendations, but he never got to trade them. Soon after he gave up, he decided to withdraw and sent them a request to do so. This request took ages to process, and after ten days of waiting, his money got deducted. Woah! He says his current balance is $12, and he has never worked with such a manipulative broker company before.
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Lastly, DDFutures is another blacklisted broker in the online world. This broker claimed to provide significant profits through investment strategies that were believed to be dependable as a Forex and cryptocurrency investing website. After only 25 days, the website offered investors returns of up to 1555 percent on their investment. On the website, there is no explanation of how large profits might be obtained, how the broker operates, or who the broker is. The only information accessible on the website is that DDFutures is a private firm situated in the United Kingdom that specializes in the development of high-return goods.
There are a number of red signs that traders should be aware of, and in the case of DDFutures, there were three separate red flags: The promise of easy money, the website’s vagueness and lack of company information, and an illegitimate license is one that has been issued by a third party. People have shared their negative experiences to a large extent. They say that DDFutures never lets you withdraw your money no matter what amount of profits you make. They just keep delaying the process for months, and if the time limit reaches six months, one cannot request a withdrawal leading to a massive loss of your money.
Also, a customer reviews that at first, they assured clients that their money was safe, but no information was disclosed to prove it. One of the clients, Sakib, mentions his experience in the following words: ‘DDfutures is a bunch of shameless liars that cannot be trusted as all their promises are a road towards losing money. I deposited 500 USD and traded up to an 800 USD account balance. Later, when I requested a withdrawal of 200 USD, they began to blackmail me and blocked my account. What is even worse is that they insisted on depositing more. Another client mentioned that features contacted him themselves. They kept on calling and pressured him into investing his $450 that he never got back. The reason they gave was platform malfunction. Scammers!
Scams will undoubtedly continue to exist as long as people fall for them. People are recommended to take their time and avoid making hasty financial decisions, as they would with any other form of investment. They should hire an advisor who can teach them about trading and assist them in creating a comprehensive financial plan. Everything should be read and inspected. They should always read the fine print, whether it comes in an email, a text, or something else. If an offer appears to be suspect or too good to be true, it most likely is.
And lastly, personal information should not be shared. Scammers can gain access to practically every facet of your life if they have the correct information. This includes taking your identity as well as money and other accounts. Never give up account information, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or passwords to strangers unless you know who they are and the request is valid. Also, click here to find more news and stories about different kind of scam!
Put an End To Online Scams Entirely!
Cybercriminals are constantly thinking of new ways to scam people on the web as the world evolves. By now, it is safe to assume that if anyone asks for your bank or personal details, you are being scammed. Whether it’s an online payment while you shop, a lover asking for money on a dating scam, pop-ups asking for a fee, or a forex broker pressurizing to invest, never give out your personal information. The most effective method of avoiding having your bank account or other personal information compromised is to be proactive in controlling who has access to your information. Because your bank accounts serve as the conduit via which you access and interact with so many elements of your financial life, scammers are ready to take advantage of any opportunities to exploit any vulnerabilities associated with your financial transactions.
Hence, if you fall for an online scam don’t be embarrassed. Share it with your loved ones because it would not only make you feel better but also guide you on what action to take. They may tell you about a regulatory authority where you can report after gathering all the relevant information. These organizations, after researching and reviewing further, send out the information to the appropriate regulatory and law enforcement agencies. If you want to steer clear, keep yourself safe from falling victim to online scams, and want to learn more about the different kinds of scams prevalent today, read the article above carefully and follow the steps to be careful at all times. Happy reading!
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