The Internet is probably one of the best things to have happened to this generation. However, with all good things, there are always down sides. These days, the chances of falling for a scam has doubled, especially with the increase in the activities of online scammers or 419’ners (as it is called in the Nigerian parlance).
We noticed that many people have been scammed online. We make this our mission to explain you how to detect and avoid online scam.
— ThehowtoPage (@TheHowToPage1) January 27, 2016
The sad part is, even in the comfort of your home, you can be scammed. Simply making online payments, using online banking apps, and engaging all other forms of online transactions can expose you to the nefarious activities of online scammers.
Would you recognize an online scam if you came across one? Anyway, we’re here to help; let’s let you in on the major techniques of online scammers and what you can do.
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Social Media Impersonation
Almost everyone is on social media these days to keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues. The social media has, therefore, become a tool in the hand of scammers in swindling people of their resources, especially because of its anonymity.
The most popular cases of impersonation on the Internet are online scammers (especially on Facebook) claiming to be officials of the Nigerian Customs Service. They offer cars for auction their several fake social media accounts. The trick to determining if a particular offer is authentic is to first look through the friends and followers of the bearer of the account. Most importantly, a quick Google search of the company’s name or personality will provide you with all you need to know.
Reward and Phishing Scam
Several companies and websites have reward programs for their customers who make different purchases, by offering gifts or coupon.
Scammers now take advantage of this to send malicious emails and text to people pretending to be an organization to get sensitive data from people. To ensure you are never scammed, do not click on links from a malicious emails. Clicking on them would give the scammers access to your PC after you must have installed a software from the link unknowingly.
This is the current technique being adopted by online scammers. They cook up very emotional and heartrending stories to solicit for funds. First, they send you emails talking about how they are in search of love and want you to be their pen friend or business partner.
They are also fond of asking for help in retrieving large sums of money from a bank or paying initially small fees for papers and legal matters. In exchange for your help, they promise you huge monetary rewards. Having succeeded in winning your emotions, they start to swindle you of your money or other valuables.
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How to Detect Online Scams
If it sounds too good to be true, then it’s probably a scam. Scammers easily prey on people who are desperate for quick riches with minimal effort. These kinds of people are easily deceived and made to part with their personal and financial information.
It’s probably a scam when you are forced or coerced to act immediately. Once you notice this, investigate the email or text message before acting on its content. Check the Internet for keywords used in the email; this would definitely work. And if the email claims to be from your bank, call the customer service number on the last bank statement you received and NOT the one number you found in the email sent by the scammers.
Fake online shopping websites are also on the rise. As a matter of fact, scammers now build online shops and payment gateways to collect financial information. So, before you shop on any eCommerce website, do a Google search to get information or reviews before proceeding to give out personal information.
— Dataprovider.com (@Dataprovidercom) March 6, 2018
Most scams have several things in common. If you can learn to recognize these common elements, then you should be able to detect an online scam from a distance.