One of the biggest banes of the Internet is the growing list of online scams that have defrauded people around the world. Online scammers get more sophisticated with their scams with every passing year and end up hoodwinking both young and old into parting with money, gifts, and sex every year.
The best piece of advice you can follow when it comes to preventing a website scam is to follow the age-old adage ‘If it is too good to be true, then it is not true’.
We take you through some of the most popular online scams that continue to fool millions of internet users and give you tips on how you can spot these scams and avoid these scams. Keep reading to learn more.
Phishing: This is where scammers create a fake website or profile that closely resembles an official and authentic company, website, or individual. Unsuspecting victims are fooled into thinking that they are dealing with an official organization and end up sharing both personal and financial information with the scammers.
The scammers then make use of this information to defraud the victim. Depending on what type of scam it is, the individual might find money being siphoned from their bank account, or unauthorized credit card transactions taking place or worse could face threats in the form of blackmail if they shared any of their private information.
How To Avoid: The best way to avoid these scams is to carefully check the website URL to see if it is a secure site (look for the lock symbol before the https://), check to see if the domain is the same as the official site and that no part of the URL is different. A lot of times scammers copy the same domain name but change the extension to .org or .net. If you are suspicious of the website, always call the office phone number and cross-check before sharing any of your info on the website.
Rogue Sites: Some sites make big promises and don’t deliver. You can find a lot of online casinos, especially unlicensed casinos making big promises and offering attractive bonuses to lure players. However, when it comes to withdrawing one’s winnings, the online casino refuses to pay and uses multiple delay tactics.
How To Avoid: The best way to avoid this is to only play at licensed online casinos and to always check out casino reviews from a trusted site before signing up. Apart from providing extensive reviews of the sites offering you can also find editorials in form of guides on how to find a trusted operator.
Catfishing: This is a term used to refer to fake profiles who con victims through manipulation and lies. This type of scam is usually carried out at online dating sites where unsuspecting victims fall in love with a scammer. Once the scammer earns their trust, they start asking them for money or con them into having sex and then disappear.
How To Avoid: Don’t be in a rush to hand over your personal information or financial information to someone you met online. Make sure you sign up at a reputed and trusted online dating site, double-check the individual’s information on social media, and always look for photos that include their friends and family as most scammers prefer to keep this a secret.
Hacking: Hackers will often target specific sites like online dating and online casino sites to pull out personal and financial information. The Ashley Madison dating breach is a perfect example of this type of scam.
How to Avoid: The best way to avoid this scam is to ensure any website that you are divulging personal and financial information uses the latest SSL encryption and safety protocols to protect themselves against hackers. Don’t share any information with websites that have a shady reputation. Even if you follow all of these rules, it is still possible for hackers to breach a website’s security. This is one scam where you have to depend on the reliability and safety of the website.
False Billing: Some scammers create digital invoices impersonating regular utility bills such as gas, water, and electricity and direct unsuspecting customer to make payments at these websites.
How To Avoid: Always check to see if the sender has an authentic email address and if the bank details match the name of the utility provider exactly. If there is a mismatch, do not make any payment. Contact your official provider using contact information from their official website and not from the fake digital invoice that you received.
Inheritance Scam: This is one of the oldest online scams that still does the rounds today. Scammers get your email or phone details from a social media site and then contact you claiming that you have won a lottery prize. Sometimes they tell you that they have come into a large inheritance and are looking to take the money out of their country and need help.
They will ask you for your bank details to transfer the funds to you and tell you that you can keep a percentage of the funds and hand over the rest to them for your help. However, they will also ask you to transfer a processing fee charge to make the transfer.
How To Avoid: The best way to avoid this scam is to immediately recognize that this is an inheritance scam, block the person and never correspond with them at all.