Cyber scams and how to avoid them
When it comes to online scams, a little knowledge can save you a world of trouble. Read on to learn about the most common types of scams, how to spot them, and how to avoid falling prey to them.
Text and online messaging is a prime place for scammers to try and con you out of personal information.
We often make the mistake of believing that if someone has our number we either should know them, or our number was given to them for a good reason.
Scammers take advantage of this assumption and have grown increasingly sophisticated about the way they exploit people. They will often pretend to be an acquaintance or a reputable institution like a bank.
If you spend any time online, you've probably been target of a phishing attack.
This is when a scammer pretends to be from a reputable company in order to get you to reveal personal information they can use.
Phishing is a technique that's often deployed through emails. Web site pop-ups, and even mobile apps.
Common phishing scams:
The scam appears as an email from a leader in your organization, asking for highly sensitive information like company accounts, employee salaries, Social Security numbers, and client information.
File sharing & DocuSign
Phony requests to access files in Dropbox and DocuSign accounts are on the rise, tricking workers into clicking on dangerous links.
The romance scam
This one can happen completely online, over the phone, or in person once contact is established. But the romance scam always starts with someone supposedly looking for love. The scammer often puts a phony ad online, or poses as a friend-of-a-friend on social media and contacts you directly. But what starts as the promise of love or partnership, often leads to requests for money or pricey gifts. The lure here is simple-love and acceptance.
The mobile phish
Scammers distribute fake mobile apps that gathers your personal information in the background or send text messages containing dangerous links.
You get a request to take a survey for a social issue you may care about. When you click that link, you could be getting infected with malware.
The urgent email attachment
Phishing emails try to trick you into downloading a dangerous attachment giving a bad actor access to your computer. Such emails ask you to download attachments confirming a package delivery, trip itinerary, or prize.
Phone scams come in many forms. Some act friendly while others try and use intimidation.
In all cases, the goal is to get personal information and money.
Common phone scams:
Credit repair scams
Give them some money and they promise to "fix" or "remove" your debt.
You need to give money today to help these people in need.
Extended car warranties
They access public purchase records to try and sell you overpriced or worthless car warranties.
Scammers defraud many people using internet services and software.
The goal of these scams is to trick you into sending money or personal information.
Types of web scams:
Fake commerce sites
Fake product sites used to sell products that are not worth the price paid or not delivered at all.
Credit card fraud
Asking for credit card information to proceed on a web site.
Software designed to disable your computer system for the scammers personal use or to simply damage it. Also a general term used for viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, and more.
Like many of these other scams, online scams exploit those in need or looking for a deal.
Look out for:
You'll be notified that you just "won" a nice prize like money, jewelry or a vacation. These scams will ask you to pay something upfront.
Creators of the crowdsourced request promise a return for your small investment in their project but end up pocketing the money instead.
The most common email scams involve phishing.
Phishing schemes take on the appearance of a legitimate email, they may even appear to be from a company you're familiar with, in order to exploit your trust and gain personal or financial information.
Types of email scams you may see:
Foreign lottery scam
You just won a big prize, often in a foreign country, but you must pay a small amount upfront to gain the larger reward.
You get a request to take a survey for a social issue you may care about. When you click the link, you get infected with malware.
You receive an email saying there is something wrong with your bank or PayPal account that needs your attention. You're then directed to a fake site where you attempt to log-in so they can steal your user name and password for the actual site.