While the Internet can be an ideal place for communication, entertainment, and information sharing, everyone should still watch out for online threats and scams. In Q1 2021, companies and individuals lost approximately $63 million from online scams like investments, false billing, and identity theft.
Unfortunately, while many Internet users are now vigilant, one in ten adults in the US and around 50% of individuals contacted by scammers still fall as victims yearly. If you’re interested in learning more, please read the sections below about the most common online scams and how to avoid them.
4 Common Online Scams to Avoid
1. Email scam
Many scammers use email to steal user login credentials, steal money, or infect a device. In the process, cybercriminals disguise email addresses, messages, and even brandings to resemble legitimate ones. Moreover, these emails contain too good to be factual statements, promotions, false account alerts, and links to harmful websites. Also, some emails infect computers even by opening alone.
While it’s not always easy to judge if an email’s authenticity, there are ways that one can do to avoid scams:
- When an inbox receives emails from strangers, it would be best not to open or answer them.
- When reading unknown emails, please don’t click any links and report deceiving ones as spam.
- Lastly, using an email lookup tool can help identify an email sender’s real identity.
2. Phone call scam
As the name suggests, phone call scams are fraudulent acts through the phone. In the process, scammers might disguise themselves as tech supports, bank representatives, or online account admins. Moreover, they might warn about false account hacking, computer virus infection, or other made-up stories. Typically, these scammers rush things to pressure the other to reveal sensitive information, which lets them steal accounts, money, or even online identity.
Unlike emails, where it’s easy to spot messages and visual cues, phone call scams can be challenging to avoid. However, actions like not answering or calling unknown numbers again can help. Additionally, it’s best to minimize what information to reveal and refrain from giving personal credentials during a call. Finally, checking a caller’s number using Spokeo’s reverse phone lookup feature could help avoid scams.
3. Online shopping scam
In Q1 2021, there were approximately 4,000 reports and over $1.5 million amount lost from online shopping scams. With this in mind, it’s clear that fake online stores, bank login stealing checkouts, and made-up deals, are effective enough to victimize many individuals. By copying known online stores and scripting websites, scammers can trick buyers into thinking that they’re in a real or safe place to purchase goods.
If you’re shopping on a new or suspicious site, it would be best to check customer reviews first from the shop itself or other websites. Also, if possible, please avoid prepaying too much or prepaying at all. Lastly, checking the store owner’s contact details through Spokeo’s email and phone number search tools is ideal for reviewing any criminal records or identifiers.
Catfishing is a fraudulent act where a scammer impersonates someone’s friend, family, or a famous person to ask for money, personal information, location, and other sensitive details. Typically, catfishing happens on social media, messaging platforms, and emails where it’s easy to copy someone else’s identity and trick people.
Unless you’re sure that you’re talking to the real person, please don’t provide any personal data and send money. Also, Google can reverse image search, so it’s possible to check a user’s profile photo. Ultimately, it would be best to ask for a video call to verify someone’s identity in real-time.
Stay Safe From Online Scams
Since the Internet is a vast space, knowing the essentials in privacy and security is beneficial. While total online safety is not a guarantee, avoiding the above scams and following safety measures would help a lot. If you’ve learned something worthy, please feel free to share the link.
Maguire Haigh is a marketing manager for Spokeo. He is interested in the latest technology trends, marketing strategies, and business development. He also prefers traveling, exploring the world, and meeting new people. Maguire has great experience in creating and editing articles on different topics.