1. Hitman scam
One of the most frequent scams you can meet online is the “hitman” extortion attempt. Cyber criminals will send you an email threatening you in order to obtain money. This type of scam may come in various forms, such as the one threatening that they will kidnap a family member unless a ransom is paid in a time frame provided by the scammers.To create the appearance of a real danger, the message is filled with details from the victim’s life, collected from an online account, a personal blog or, more and more frequently, from a social network account.That’s why it’s not wise to offer sensitive, personal information about you on social media. It might seem like a safe and private place, where you’re only surrounded by friends, but in reality you can never know for sure who’s watching you.That’s why sometimes it’s better to be a little bit paranoid.
2. Romance scams
How many of us have already been fooled by this one? Since this one addresses our subjective self and not our rational side, we tend to drop our guard and leave aside any logical analysis.This scam takes place on social dating networks, like Facebook, or by sending a simple email to the potential target.
The male scammers are often located in West Africa, while the female scammers are mostly from the eastern parts of Europe.Cyber criminals have abused this scamming method for years by using the online dating services. They improved their approach just by testing the potential victims’ reactions.This scheme may take place for several months or more in order to gain the trust of that person. In many cases, it even goes to the moment when a meeting is arranged.When this happens, two things may take place:
- an “unpredictable” event occurs and the scammer needs money as soon as possible for his/her passport or other details.
- if the victim comes from a rich family, he/she may be kidnapped and a large sum of money could be requested from the family.
Our recommendation is to read these real stories and learn from them, so you don’t become a victim of a romance scam:
- A woman lost £1.6 million after she met two conmen on a dating site
- A Perth woman has lost $300,000 after falling in love with a fake Facebook profile
- US woman lost her $50.000 life savings by becoming victim of a cyber-dating scam artist
Knowing that hundreds of women and men from all over the globe are victims of this type of online scam, we also recommend reading these tips to protect yourself and avoid being scammed.
3. Fake antivirus software
We all saw at least once this message on our screens: “You have been infected! Download antivirus X right now to protect your computer!”. Many of these pop-ups were very well created to resemble actual messages that you might get from Windows or from a normal security product. If you are lucky, there is nothing more than an innocent hoax that will bother you by displaying unwanted pop-ups on your screen while you browse online. In this case, to get rid of the annoying pop-ups, we recommend scanning your system using a good antivirus product.If you are not so lucky, you can end up with malware on your system, such as a Trojan or a keylogger. This kind of message could also come from one of the most dangerous ransomware threats around, such as CryptoLocker, which is capable of blocking and encrypting your operating system and requesting you a sum of money in exchange for the decryption key.
To avoid this situation, we recommend using a specialized security product against this kind of financial malware, besides your traditional antivirus program.
4. Facebook impersonation scam (hijacked profile scam)
Without doubt, Facebook is the most popular social media platform, hitting two billion of active users per month. It’s also the channel where most of the brands and companies communicate with customers and users, and promote their products. Facebook represents a trustworthy channel for many users that they rarely check whether a company page is trustworthy or not. If most friends, colleagues and social connections are on Facebook, it is perfectly normal for such a place to also attract the unwanted attention of online scammers. Just imagine your account being hacked by a cyber criminal and gaining access to your close friends and family. Since it is so important for your privacy and online security, you should be very careful in protecting your personal online accounts just the way you protect your banking or email account. Set a double authentication method as soon as possible. This will act as an additional layer of security, besides your password.
5. Make money fast scams (Economic scams)
The following common online scam is extremely popular: cyber criminals will lure you into believing you can make easy money on the internet. They’ll promise you non-existent jobs, plans and methods of getting rich quickly and money from official government sources. It is a quite simple and effective approach, because it simply addresses one’s basic need for money, especially when that person is in a difficult financial situation.
From this point of view, this scamming method is similar to the romance scam mentioned above, where the cyber attackers address the romantic needs of the victim.
The fraudulent posting of non-existent jobs for a variety of positions is part of the online criminals’ arsenal.Using various job types, such as work-at-home scams, the victim is lured into giving away personal information and financial data with the promise of a well paid job that will bring lots of money in a very short period of time.
6. Travel scams
These scams usually appear in the hot summer months or before the short winter vacations, for Christmas or New Year’s Day.The scenario is usually like this: you receive an email containing an amazing offer for an extraordinary hard to get to destination (usually an exotic place) that expires in a short period of time and you must not miss. If it sounds too good to be true, it might be a travel scam, so don’t fall for it! The problem is that some of these offers actually hide some necessary costs until you pay for the initial offer. Others simply take your money without sending you anywhere. In such cases, we suggest that you study very well the travel offer and look for hidden costs, such as: airport taxes, tickets that you need to pay to access a local attraction, check if the meals are included or not, other local transportation fees between your airport and the hotel or between the hotel and the main attractions mentioned in the initial offer, etc.
As a general rule, we suggest that you go with the trustworthy, well known travel agencies. You can also check if by paying individually for plane tickets and for accommodation you receive the same results as in the received offer.
Culled from HEIMDAL SECURITY