How to Detect And Avoid Online Scams

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Good actors aren’t just seen in movies, TV shows, and on stage. A lot of good actors surround us and interact with people from different walks of life every day.

Unfortunately, these aren’t the type of actors that portray a role and get paid legally. We’re talking about con artists and scammers who are always on the prowl looking for their next victim.

These people pose as “legitimate” representatives of different companies and institutions and contact you to help you address and solve a particular concern with your account or services or whatever their M.O. is.

Note that these people often sound genuine and sincere but all they want is access to your personal information or financial data so they can hack your accounts and take as much money as they can.

One of the best ways of protecting yourself from becoming one of their victims is awareness. Online scammers use different tactics to reel in their prey. Here are some of the most common scams these cybercriminals use:

Online Scams Cybercriminals Typically Use

1. Phishing Email

These often appear to be legitimate communications from banks, lenders, and other companies that ask the user to send account-sensitive information to address certain concerns, avail of exclusive benefits, or make changes to their plans and subscriptions.

2. Bank Loan or Credit Cards

These scams may seem to be very obvious to people but according to surveys, a lot of people still fall prey to this M.O. Scammers pose as bank representatives offering you deals that seem too good to be true. If you’re really desperate and don’t know any better, chances are, you will take the bait because of the once-in-a-lifetime offer.

3. The Nigerian Scam

Also known as Nigerian 419, it typically involves an emotional appeal in the form of an email or message from a Nigerian who lost money and is asking for the help of whatever amount can be sent. In return for your help, you are promised a large amount of money once it has been retrieved.

4. Greeting Cards

An oldie but a goodie that scammers still use today is the greeting card scam where digital greeting cards are sent your way. Once you click the link, it unleashes malware that harvests your personal information which is then used to hack into your different accounts.

5. Romance Scam

It’s bad enough if you’re lonely and desperate for love, but becoming a victim of scammers using your emotional vulnerability is downright loathsome. Many men and women have fallen victim to online dating scams where they send money to the ones they are “dating” thinking that they’re investing in their future and happiness.

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12 Ways to Spot Online Scams

1. One of the easiest is when these “representatives” ask for sensitive information in your exchange such as your social, birthdate, and other crucial information that will easily allow them access to most of your accounts.

Keep in mind that no company, bank, lending company, vehicle carrier service providers, or real estate agency will ask for your private information online or over the phone.

2. When it comes to real estate, the landlord always has excuses to not show you what the inside of the property looks like.

3. A buyer doesn’t seem to be concerned about an item’s cost, no matter how pricey, and is eager to shoulder all expenses without haggling or asking for discounts.

4. The person on the other end uses stressor events.

5. They refuse to take your phone calls and meet-ups are never an option for them even if you live in the same area.

6. Insists on getting your personal and banking details for payment purposes.

7. The company name doesn’t have an official and authentic site or it doesn’t exist on the internet.

8. They refuse to use mandatory online payment services when transacting with you.

9. Claims to be doing things the unconventional way because they’ve been scammed before and don’t want it to happen again. But when you think about it, the way that they want to do things gives them an unfair advantage financially.

10. They are adamant about you using their escrow person for the transaction.

11. They’re asking you to send them money so they can in turn send more money your way.

12. They tell you they love you and you mean the world to them but they refuse to talk to you on the phone or video chat or always make up excuses why they can’t show you the date on today’s paper to verify their identity and existence.

When it comes to scams, you need to be aware of con men’s M.O.s so that you know how to best protect yourself, your credentials, and your hard-earned money. Don’t fall for their acting. Be wise and discerning.

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