Types of Scams and How To Avoid Them
One of the most universally hated cyber crimes is that of fraud, or scams. Most would like to believe they could never fall for such tricks; however, as scammers become ever more proficient and convincing, the number of people at risk for victimization only grows.
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The elderly are particularly vulnerable to being targeted by scammers, as many are inexperienced internet users. Individuals experiencing cognitive impairment due to diseases such as Alzheimer’s are additionally at high risk.
Therefore, in order to best protect yourself and your loved ones, it’s important to make sure you’re familiar with the following two common types of cyber fraud and the corresponding tactics utilized by scammers to swindle their victims.
Tech Support Scam/Online Gift Card Fraud
Unfortunately, tech support scams are commonplace, lucrative, and frequently ignored by local law enforcement officials depending on the country in which the fraud is being perpetrated.
Tech support scams typically involve the use of fake warning messages, pop-ups, and voicemails alleging a potential victim’s computer has been compromised. Whatever the form of communication used to make contact, a number will be provided under the assurance that the technical issue will be assessed and resolved by professionals.
If one of these numbers is called, the person calling will be connected with either an individual scammer or, more commonly, someone working at a fraudulent call center. Scammers often falsely refer to themselves as Microsoft certified technicians in order to establish credibility, and will then attempt to connect to the potential victim’s computer.
One of the best ways to safeguard yourself and your loved ones is to never allow remote access to your computer. Do not download remote access software such as TeamViewer. Doing so will grant scammers access to your personal files, data, and information.
Should a person download this software and grant access, the scammer will then use a series of misleading commands and prompts in order to convince a victim his or her computer is compromised. Once convinced, the scammer will assert a certain fee needs to be paid in order to fix the issue.
Meanwhile, there is no issue, and the scammer is simply trying to steal unsuspecting people’s money.
As the name suggests, this type of fraud involves the facade of a charitable organization. Scammers will often create websites which appear to be either a charitable organization in its own right or affiliated with one, and will seek monetary donations from good samaritans.
Charity fraud typically increases in the wake of a natural disaster or humanitarian issue. For example, many such scams were identified and ultimately prosecuted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina.
In order to avoid giving money to a fraudulent organization, observe the following tips:
- Thoroughly research the charity
- Review the charity’s ratings, reviews, and reports
- Only pay by credit card or check, never by gift card or direct wire transfer
- Pay attention to solicitors’ tactics. If someone is trying to rush your decision or force you into donating, run the other way!
These are only two types of scams being committed today. There are unfortunately many other types; however, many of the same tactics are used across the board, making them easier to spot.
In short, never allow remote access to your computer, never rush into any decision that involves money, and always be sure to do your research. Remain cautious and vigilant, and you stand a far greater chance of outsmarting scammers and keeping their hands out of your pockets.
For additional tips and tricks, be sure to check out The Stock Dork. The Stock Dork offers news, expertise, and general know-how in the areas of business, stocks, investing, and more for both novices and experts alike. Stay up to date and informed about all things money while keeping scammers at bay!