4 Online Scams You Need to Know in 2020

Monday, December 14, 2020

     Even in these strange times, cybercriminals remain steadfast in their attempts to lure new victims. One way to ensure that you won’t fall for these illegal activities is to take a closer look at how they are conducted. Here are some of the most common online scams that cybercriminals are still using this 2020

4 Online Scams You Need to Know in 2020
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     Phishing, or pretending to be someone that the victim knows, is still one of the most common scams online. The phisher uses email, social media, and messaging apps to get in touch with their targets. They send a message with the intent to solicit sensitive information or to have the victim click a link that will introduce malicious elements to the victim’s gadgets. 

     While many people are quite familiar with this malicious activity, many still fall for phishing in the Philippines. Phishers may attempt to pass themselves off as a representative from your bank, a retailer you frequent, or your internet service provider, to name a few. At the same time, they can send seemingly legitimate messages that can easily deceive people. If you have any doubts, check the sender’s email first and foremost, and don’t click links that look dodgy to you. Be wary about sharing your personal details over the internet. Remember that no reputable institution will ask you to provide your passwords and other credentials online. 

Easy Money

     Cybercriminals often lure their victims by offering them avenues to earn insane amounts of cash. In exchange for this, they’ll ask the victim to divulge sensitive information, such as their credit card details and other financial information. Steer clear of these scams by avoiding get-rich-quick schemes that require little to no skills. Sometimes, these easy-money scams also advertise themselves as businesses or jobs where you can set your own hours. Remember that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. 

Fake Antivirus or Scareware

     People see antivirus programs as a way to protect themselves from harmful elements on the internet, so it’s especially malicious that online criminals are packaging their scams in the form of fake antivirus software. This scheme starts with a pop-up message that your computer has been infected by a virus and that you can get rid of this problem by downloading a particular software. The truth of the matter is that this is just a scammer’s attempt to access your computer and information. This antivirus they are touting will actually introduce a virus, malware, or ransomware to your gadget. 

     Make sure that your antivirus program is updated regularly, and don’t let yourself get carried away by alarmist pop-ups on the internet. 

Grandparent Scams

     The elderly can be especially vulnerable to online scams. Many of them are not particularly adept at using computers and the internet, and they can get confused by the strangers that they are interacting with online. Common grandparent scams include supposedly relatives who are pretending to be in trouble, like they’re confined to a hospital, trapped in a foreign country, or in jail. They’ll ask the victim to immediately send money so that they can get out of their current predicament. 

     Protect your family members by making them more familiar with this type of scam. Also, have a plan in place in case someone does try to pull off this scheme. For example, you can ask your elderly family member to call you first before taking any action to assist the troubled relative. 

Ways to Protect Yourself from Online Scams

     There are steps that you can take to make yourself and your family members less vulnerable to these illegal activities. Below are some of these tried-and-tested measures: 
  • Protect your credit card data. If you need to share your credit card information, make sure that the establishment or website you are sharing it with is a trusted one. 
  • Don’t click emails, messages, and links that come from unknown senders. These are some of the most common ways scammers use to get hold of your personal or banking details. 
  • Always ask what the catch is. Scammers often lure unsuspecting victims with opportunities for earning a lot of money in a snap. 
  • Don’t trust strangers online. Establish trust first, such as by asking for proof of what they claim, before seriously considering the offers or opinions of strangers on the internet.
  • Make sure your devices are safe. Do this by updating your apps and operating systems, using antivirus programs, and securing your computer and other devices with a strong passcode.

     The wide availability of internet access has made it possible for the current generation to enjoy a world of conveniences, many of which would seem quite fantastical to our great grandparents. At the same time, though, having everything at the tip of our fingers exposes us to new dangers, such as online scammers and hackers. To enjoy the best that the internet has to offer, we have to exercise caution. That includes keeping ourselves aware of the techniques that these malicious individuals are using to look for their newest victims. 

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