Types of scams online

I am here to discussing different types of scams online and how to avoid them if you are working online.


Make money online or make money fast scam

It is a quite simple and effective approach, because it addresses a basic need for money, especially when someone is in a difficult financial situation.

Using various job types, such as work-at-home scams, the victim is lured into giving away personal information and financial data with the promise of a well paid job that will bring lots of money in a very short period of time.

Cyber criminals will lure you into believing you can make money easy and fast on the internet. They’ll promise you non-existent jobs, including plans and methods of getting rich quickly.

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Online dating (romance) scams

As the Internet plays an important role in our social lives, with apps like Facebook or Instagram we access everyday, it’s inevitable to use apps to look for love as well.

Online dating apps are very popular these days and they are a great way to meet your future life partners. I have actually an example with a friend of mine who was lucky enough to find her future husband on a dating site.

But not all scenarios have a “happy end” like this one, and you need to be very careful, because you never know who can you meet.

A romance scam usually takes place on social dating networks, like Facebook, or by sending a simple email to the potential target, and affect thousands of victims from all over the world.

How to avoid here is some tips.

If you are asked to send money and feel so inclined, run the whole scenario by someone you trust.

Copy the images your online correspondent has posted to his or her profile, then run them through a reverse-image search engine, such as TinEye or Google Images. If the images come up associated with a person who has another name or lives in a different city, you have good reason to suspect they were stolen from someone else’s profile. And if you’ve been communicating with someone by email, check their address at a site such as Romance Scams, which compiles lists of email addresses belonging to known scammers. The website Scamalytics maintains a blacklist of scammers who use false pictures.

Hitman scam

One of the most frequent Internet scams you can meet online is the hitmanextortion attempt. Cyber criminals will send you an email threatening to extort money from you. This type of online scam may come in various forms, such as the one threatening that they will kidnap a family member unless a ransom is paid in a time frame provided by the scammers.

To create the appearance of a real danger, the message is filled with details from the victim’s life, collected from an online account, a personal blog or from a social network account.

That’s why it’s not safe to provide any sensitive or personal information about you on social media channels. It might seem like a safe and private place, where you’re only surrounded by friends, but in reality you can never know for sure who’s watching you.

How to avoid here is some tips.

Don’t be pressured by a threatening caller. Stop, think and check whether their story is true.

A government agency or trusted company will never ask you to pay by unusual methods such as by gift or store cards, iTunes vouchers, wire transfers or Bitcoins.

If you receive a phone call from someone threatening you and asking you to pay a fee, hang up and do not respond.

Don’t use any contact details provided by the caller. Verify their identity by calling the relevant organisation directly—find them through an independent source such as a phone book, past bill or online search.

Bank loan or credit card scam

People can be easily scammed by “too good to be true” bank offers that might guarantee large amounts of money and have already been pre-approved by the bank. If such an incredible pre-approved loan is offered to you, ask yourself:

“How is it possible for a bank to offer you such a large sum of money without even checking and analyzing your financial situation?”

Though it may seem unlikely for people to get trapped by this scam, there’s still a big number of people who lost money by paying the “mandatory” processing fees required by the scammers.

How to avoid here is some tips.

Watching your accounts closely and monitor your online transactions;

Taking advantage of free consumer protection services;

Signing up for free credit monitoring.

Bitcoin scams

If you want to invest in Bitcoin technology, we advise you to be aware of online scams. Digital wallets can be open to hacking and scammers take advantage of this new technology to steal sensitive data.

Bitcoin transactions should be safe, but these five examples of Bitcoin scams show how they happen and how you can lose your money.

The most common online scams to watch out for:

Fake Bitcoin exchanges

Ponzi schemes

Everyday scam attempts

Malware


How to avoid here is some tips.

Beware of phishing attempts.

Make sure that your OS is patched with the latest security updates.

Be mindful of ransomware.

Use secure non-guessable passwords and take other measures to protect yourself.

Use a reliable VPN.

Job offer scams

Sadly, there are scammers everywhere even when you are looking for a job posing as recruiters or employers. They use fake and “attractive” job opportunities to trick people.

It starts with a phone call (or a direct message on LinkedIn) from someone claiming to be a recruiter from a well-known company who saw your CV and saying they are interested in hiring you. Whether you’ve applied or not, the offer might be very appealing, but don’t fall into this trap.


How to avoid here is some tips.

Do a thorough research about the company and see what information you can find about it;

Check the person who’s been contacted you on social media channels;

Ask for many details and references and check them out;

Ask your friends or trustworthy people if they know or interacted with the potential employer.

Fake shopping websites

We all love shopping and it’s easier and more convenient to do it on the Internet with a few clicks. But for your online safety, be cautious about the sites you visit. There are thousands of websites out there that provide false information, and might redirect you to malicious links, giving hackers access to your most valuable data.

If you spot a great online offer which is “too good to be true”, you might be tempting to say “yes” instantly, but you need to learn how to spot a fake shopping site so you don’t get scammed.

How to avoid here is some tips.

Don’t give internet shops more private information than they need.

Use credit card, not a debit card

Do not purchase from spam or phishing emails

Access secure shopping sites that protect your information

Make sure you’re buying from a real online address

SMS Scaming

Smartphones. You can’t live without them in the era of Internet. They’ve become essential for communication, online shopping, banking or any other online activity.

Needless to say the amount of data we store on our personal devices which make them vulnerable to cyber criminals, always prepared to steal our online identities or empty our bank accounts.

Smishing (using SMS text messages) is a similar technique to phishing, but, instead of sending emails, malicious hackers send text messages to their potential victims.

How this happens? You receive an urgent text message on your smartphone with a link attached saying that it’s from your bank and you need to access it in order to update your bank information, or other online banking information.

How to avoid here is some tips.

Review your bank’s and credit card company’s policy on sending text messages

Beware of messages that come from the number “5000”

Ask yourself if the suspicious text preys on the fears 

Never reply to a suspicious text without doing research and verifying the source.

Tax scams

As if tax season isn’t already dreaded enough without scammers making life more difficult! Criminals look to exploit both taxpayers and the government using a range of tax-related scams.

In a fake audit scam, targets are contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS or similar tax agency and told that an audit has identified a discrepancy. Immediate payment is demanded with the threat of additional costs.

Fake refund targets people who are expecting a tax refund. Again, criminals pose as the IRS or similar agency and prompt targets to click a link through which they can claim their refund. However, the link leads to a phishing site where the victim is asked to provide personal information such as their social security number and banking details, which can be used in identity theft.

A tax protester scheme involves criminals calling or emailing consumers to tell them they don’t need to pay taxes. This is really more of a troll than an actual scam, because the person running it doesn’t benefit financially. However, the victim can be negatively impacted as failing to pay taxes can result in a conviction, including fines and imprisonment.

How to avoid here is some tips.

If someone claiming to be from the IRS sends and email or text message, it’s probably a scam.

Don’t be fooled by logos and letterhead.

Scammers often request payment in a form that’s untraceable to law enforcement.

If you think you owe taxes in the US, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

Travel scams

Many people purchase airline tickets, hotel rooms, and even entire vacation packages online these days. Scammers know this and there has been a rise in fraudulent travel sites selling fake tickets and non-existent vacations. Travel is usually a big-ticket item, which spells big bucks for criminals. Additionally, travel is a tricky purchase because you typically pay large amounts of money up front for something that you won’t see until the date of travel.

This type of scam can be particularly problematic because you may not find out you’ve been scammed until you arrive at your destination or the airport. There may be no record of you having a booking at all. Now you’re out the original money and also might have to come up with more to continue on your vacation, or simply pack up and go home.


How to avoid here is some tips.

Booking directly with the hotel or a trusted travel agent can help ensure you get what you want and need from your reservation and often provides better value.

Many hotels offer free benefits through their loyalty programs. Booking directly with a hotel ensures you will get your reward points.

Celebrating something special? Let the hotel know. Hotels are in the hospitality business, and they love helping create memorable experiences for guests.

If you believe you have been scammed, deceived or misled by an online hotel re seller, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file a complaint.