Online Scams: Imposter, Lottery & Online Dating Scams
The year is not even over, and the FTC has revealed that there have been about 500,000 fraud scams and more than 300,000 identity theft scams starting in January.
Moreover, the UN relieved that 782 million people have come online during the COVID pandemic, which ultimately raised the number of internet users all over the globe from 4.1 billion to 4.9 billion. The increase brought a huge number of victims to the world of cybercrime, and at the same time, these scams are increasing at a very fast rate and are becoming trickier than ever.
The pandemic is not over yet, and there are loads of covid-19 scams preying on innocent people. Moreover, 2022 also saw many schemes that led to people losing loads of money. Have a look down below at the three most common ones:
1- Imposter Scams
The FTC ranked imposter scams as the most reported fraud threat during the year, with 166,497 reports logged since January and a total of $616 million stolen by the scammers.
The scam involved actors that pretended to be business or government representatives telling the victim of a fraudulent purchase on their credit card. The victim mostly receives an email telling them about a scam which leads to them panicking and clicking on the link provided in the email without thinking twice. The link lets the scammer into the victim’s system, revealing the victim’s identity and financial information.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that if you ever receive such messages, never react so quickly. Take a deep breath and try not to panic. Contact your bank and tell them about the mail. They will tell you whether it is a fake one or not. Banks never really send emails like these, so it is going to be fake in 99% of the cases. You need to close the message and report it right away. You should also do your research by searching for the company’s names, going to their official website, and checking if the emails match.
2- Prizzes & Lotteries
This scheme involves telling someone that they won a cash prize which they can easily claim; however, all they need to do is send in a check so that they can cover the cost of delivery.
Taxes and processing the entire payment. Now, anyone who gets all excited after hearing the news is going to send the money right away. This is when they are going to lose the money they paid and are never going to receive their winnings. The FTC has received 19,818 complaints about such scams this year, and users have also lost about $52.2 million to such scams.
You should always remember that it is illegal to require an amount as an upfront payment from someone who just won the lottery in order to claim the amount won. If you are ever asked to pay something in order to get your money, it is always a scam. Never trust someone.
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3- Online Romance/Dating Scams
Dating scams not only ruin one financially but emotionally as well. Scammers take advantage of people looking for love. They usually prey on older people and play a very long game.
They hunt their victims through different dating apps and always go for people who are open to long-distance relationships. They start off the conversation with their victim in a very pleasant way and try their best to win the trust of their victim. Once they have gained the trust, here comes the money requests. They will come up with different excuses to ask you for money. For instance, they might say that they need money in order to get out of the country and buy a ticket to meet you. Once you send the money, they’ll come up with an excuse and, after a couple of days, will ask you for money again.
They might also say that they need money for some medical procedure or some financial help. They will say that they lost their job and do not have money to buy groceries. At times, they will ask you to send you a gift card or say stuff like they have always wanted something but were never able to afford it, and this is when they are going to loot you. In many cases, these scammers have looted people of their entire life savings!
In order to stay safe from such scams, you should always keep your guard up and never trust someone so easily that you have never met in your life. Make sure to take your time to trust the person and ask a lot of questions. Look for red flags as well. You also need to convince the person to meet you in a public place or set a video call. All in all, never send money to someone you met online.
Tips to Keep Yourself Protected From Online Scams
- Make sure to never click on links or attachments in emails from people you have never met and do not know. Remember, all these emails are failing and are trying their best to scam you. If you do not end up clicking a link by mistake, change your passwords right away and contact your bank. You should also get your laptop checked by an IT expert to get rid of any viruses that must have entered your system when you clicked the link.
- Never pick up the phone whenever it comes from a potential scam. Let your voicemail handle the person. Remember, the more you pick up and engage, the more calls you get.
- Always block people who seem fake online. Never talk to anyone who starts asking you for money after chatting a bit. Sure, the person might claim to ask for money from you for legit reasons, but it is mostly a scam.
- Keep informed about the scams happening out there. Read articles regarding them and stay alert.
For the latest news and guides, you can visit our news page.
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