Today we will pick up where we left off to provide you with details of more of the top internet scams that cybercriminals have conjured up and have spread across the Web.
Our previous article on the top internet scams detailed some notorious cyber schemes that deal with phony lotteries, promises of big pay from working at home, upfront fees for quick loan and credit card approvals, and more. While these scams are pretty widespread across the Web, there are many more out there that are successfully luring in new victims on a daily basis. You may have come across some of these, or perhaps you have been lucky enough to avoid them. Either way, we will list some more of the top internet scams here to help you become better acquainted with what to look for.
If you want to pick a type of scam that could be deemed as the current king of them all, you cannot go wrong with phishing. This term is a play on the word “fishing” that describes a technique in which hackers attempt to bait you into disclosing sensitive information.
Phishing scams are often crafted to look as if they come from legitimate institutions, such as banks. Usually found in the form of email or telemarketing phone calls, phishing schemes do their best to trick you into offering up valuable information that can be used to compromise your accounts and even withdraw your money.
Scammers will many times design their emails with official company logos to get you to trust them. They will then lead you to click on a link that leads to a phony website aimed at stealing your information. For instance, one scam may claim that your account password must be reset, or that you must confirm your identity. When you click the email link and go to the “official” website to enter in your current credentials into a phony form that is not secured, you open up the doors for the hackers to access your account.
You can protect yourself from phishing scams by never divulging sensitive information via email or telephone. If you have doubts, simply call the institution directly to resolve any possible problems. Whenever you enter credentials to log into a site, the site should be encrypted and have “https” at the beginning for your protection.
Phony Travel Offers
The summer is the perfect time for traveling. People’s vacation time usually kicks in, and taking a trip away from home is a great way to unwind. Unfortunately, when choosing your travel providers, you have to be careful. There are plenty of travel-related scams on the Web that could turn your dream vacation into a nightmare.
Travel scams tend to vary in form. Plenty of them begins with an email that says you have just won a free trip. To take advantage of the trip, you must act soon before the offer expires. Some deeper digging then reveals that the trip is not entirely free, as the hotel costs are inflated to ridiculous levels.
Other travel scams are more malicious and come with hidden fees. You will not realize these fees until it is too late and you have signed a contract, which can cause a lot of stress both to your health and your wallet. If you try to cancel your arrangements, it often becomes so difficult that the whole booking process turns into a loss. Of course, you also have your scams that offer a great trip but do nothing more than stealing your money outright for nothing in return.
You can avoid these travel pitfalls by only booking through trusted providers. Avoid offers from unknown entities, and if they promise something that is too good to be true, it probably is.
For Sale Scams
The internet is a perfect avenue for bringing together eager buyers and sellers of products. Unfortunately, many thieves manage to wedge themselves into the market, making it difficult to trust online transactions.
A common scam that affects the buying and selling of products deals with items for sale on sites like Craigslist. You may want to sell your car quickly and list it on the website. An offer comes through where the potential buyer says they will not only purchase the car for the full amount but will also send you a cashier’s check or money order in an amount much higher than the price you are asking to cover shipping fees. This is done to entice you to make the sale quickly with the promise of a hefty profit. Once the transaction is through, you are asked to not only ship the car but also send them the overpaid difference in cash.
When you receive the money order or cashier’s check, you assume it is legitimate and deposit it with your bank. Later on, however, the bank notifies you that it was fraudulent and orders you to pay the money back. This causes a mess where you no longer have the car and are in the red for the money you sent and the money you owe the bank.
To prevent such a financial headache from happening, your best bet is to deal with buyers you can meet in person. Do not wire money via Western Union, Moneygram, or other wire services, and be very wary of payment in the form of cashier’s checks or money orders, as you will be on the hook for the money if they turn out to be fake.
That concludes this look at more of the top internet scams. There are obviously many more that are currently in the wild, but this series has listed some of the more common ones. Use this knowledge as a foundation when using the internet to keep yourself from becoming a victim, and keep coming back here for similar articles in the future. If you feel there is a significant scam that has been left off the list, tell us about it in the comment section.