Scams have always been a part of the human experience for as far back as there have been written records, and it didn’t take long for the scamming world to adapt to the internet once it became more widespread. Today, hundreds of thousands of people are scammed across the world every year, and it has become such a lucrative form of illegal business that there are now entire organisations that spend their time trying to part people from their money.
Fortunately, it can be easy to spot these common scams and even avoid them, as long as a savvy internet user knows exactly what to keep an eye out for.
Most people have heard of phishing, but not quite as many people would be able to spot some of the more advanced ones when faced with them. It’s an extremely common scam that involves a scam artist sending out emails that seemingly come from a legitimate source, such as a bank or service.
The email will usually direct the user to login with their credentials, which will allow the fraudster to steal the details and use them to break into the account. It’s always worth remembering that no legitimate service, social media site, or store will ask their customers for their login details, so it’s something of an immediate red flag.
This works in very much the same way as the above-mentioned, except that the fraudulent message will come through in the form of an SMS. This SMS will usually be disguised as coming from one of the user’s contacts, or even from an institution that they know and work with.
Whatever the case, it’s always highly advised to never click on any links that come through on an SMS, even if it’s from a known contact. SMS technology has long been regarded as unsafe for general usage beyond sending extremely generic texts and should not be used for two-factor authentication for online accounts or mobile poker apps.
Fine Print Scams
The fine print is usually the small print that can be found at the end of a legal document or contract, and usually consists of terms and conditions that may the signer of the document may not agree with. It’s very common for a person to simply agree or click yes when faced with a document like this online, but it’s becoming a common scam for organisations to send out documents with fine print that they are hoping the user will simply ignore when faced with.
The fine print here will often give the organisation the power to legally obtain money from the user, using their signage as consent to do so. It’s recommended to always read through a contract or document in its entirety.
Ransomware and malware are two of the most common infections that a computer can get from a bad piece of software. These can make a computer run slowly, or even outright lock the user out until they pay an individual a certain amount of money to get the unlock code. It’s vital to always check that the software being downloaded comes from a reputable website, and preferably always try and aim for software that is open source, if possible.