The explosion of the internet and the world moving towards the fourth industrial revolution have exposed the majority of the businesses and individuals. The user experience and ease of access to everything are driving the major proportion of humans towards the adoption of digital operations. This has created another opportunity for the scammers and fraudsters to look out for some extra cash.
With the increased presence of individuals on online shopping platforms and social media, the swindlers are always looking for a chance to fleece you by any means. With advanced technology and social engineering tactics, the fraudsters have become quite sophisticated. Due to this, most of the scams even seem real and not fake.
Here are some common types of scams that people fall victim to.
Smishing (SMS Phishing)
Smishing, also known as an SMS-phishing attack is becoming common due to the smartphone revolution. In this type of fraud, people often receive a text message from “Bank” or “Card issuer” saying there is some problem with the account or someone tried to access their account and they immediately need to contact with their account information. Even some messages say that you have won a lottery or a gift card from let’s say, Wallmart, and you are required to prove your identity through a call or whatever the message says to avail.
Such messages seem like a real warning from the company, but actually sender is some fraudster hoping to receive the account information from the victim. The same is the case with bogus gift cards. In order to avail that offer, the scammers ask victims to pay the shipping fee or and pay a security fee. Biting into such messages, you will have to surrender your card details to the black hat marketers and scammers leading to credit card verification and CNP frauds.
The Dating Scams
With the expanding trend of online dating sites, cybercriminals are availing this opportunity to scam people in a romance scam and gain financial benefits. Such scams are not limited to defrauding people, in fact, there have been multiple cases where the scammers are professional cybercriminals and use victims as money mules and drug mules without their knowledge.
For instance, in 2016 one such incident was reported in which Edwena Doore fell victim to Kenneth Bruce, whom she met online, and landed in jail for five months for unknowingly laundering $700,000. In addition to this amount, she also lost her own money during her relationship with the offender. As per report, she was warned by the police to stay away from Bruce and she did for the time being and then again contacted him few months later.
In these scams, the scammers and imposters lookout for the real-people and after gaining their trust they start their activities by demanding money. These scammers know really well how to play the emotional card and trick the victims that they are ready to do anything as per the scammers.
The Hitman Scam
The hitman Scam is a type of scam in which the victims receive an email from scammers saying that they are hired to kill them and if they want to live then they must transfer money to their account. Though it seems very ridiculous why would someone fell victim to such a message? But the truth is people don’t take life threat easy and that’s what the scammers take advantage of.
To make the threat look more real, the scammers add some information about the person in the message so that the person receiving it would feel under threat. This information is something that people already share on their social media accounts. Due to an active presence on the internet, accessing someone’s information is not difficult anymore. Using this information the fraudsters target people and are successful in stealing money from them
Business Email Compromise (BEC) frauds are a very common type of frauds, especially in the corporate sectors. To target the entity, the criminals and fraudsters have to do a lot of research. What they do is they present themselves as the representative of some company and send an email or make a call to the victims demanding urgent funds transfer or any other financial incentives.
People easily fell for this scam because firstly the email is from an official account and secondly it is full-fledged planned fraud involving detailed information about the target. Moreover, this scam is executed in a very friendly way. Either the scammers manipulate the targets with their sugar-coated chats or they show the urgency to fulfill their request of funds transfer.
Free Trial Offer Scam
One of the most common scams is the Free-trial scams which fascinate the users a lot. Finding free trial on the internet that just requires the users to pay shipping and handling fees. Such products and services and really attract the customers and they often register for a free trial. But this is not about it only.
On the backend, there is a lot more. The behavior of a user of clicking “I agree” without reading the whole terms and conditions gives it away to the fraudsters to add the clauses as per their advantage. When you sign up for a free trial, you unknowingly get yourself in trouble with a monthly subscription which is automatically deducted every month from your account.
The World of Charity
The scammers are proactively taking advantage of people’s sympathy and kindness by pretending to be a charity organization. Playing with people’s emotions has never been easy like it is now. By creating fake identities on the internet, the scammers are continuously tricking people into transferring the funds for the orphans and people in need. Many people fall for this scam and end up losing their money to the fraudsters.
What should you do?
These digital scams and frauds are very common and can target any individual with an online presence. People aren’t the only ones getting affected by these frauds, but businesses are equally on the target list of cybercriminals. Most of such online scams rely on the users to take action. In order to avoid and prevent such scams, the people and businesses need to be educated first about the ways the scammer carry out their activities – i.e. social engineering tactics.
Another way is before taking any action, you must verify the identity of the resource. Especially the businesses must follow proper identity verification services to combat BEC frauds.