The most common online scams to watch for
Swindlers defraud unsuspecting victims of hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Here are some common ruses used to trick people via their computers or electronic devices.
Fake job offers
Scammers trick jobseekers with offers of employment as mystery shoppers tasked with assessing bank transfer services. The catch? Victims have to test transfers from their own bank accounts.
“Too good to be true” should be the tagline for some dating sites. Fraudsters create unbelievably attractive profiles, then elicit personal data through the virtual relationships they establish with their victims.
Thieves use spyware and viruses to steal your personal and financial information, passwords, etc. so they can copy your digital profile and do whatever they want with it.
Fraudsters create perfect copies of websites belonging to real financial institutions or big businesses. A few clicks of the mouse is all it takes to gather your personal information and bank details.
Scammers pose as an employee of a debt collection agency demanding urgent payment of a debt you weren’t aware you had.
Hacked Facebook profile
Disaster! An anonymous fraudster with access to your friends, family members, and photos can do a whole lot of damage!
Who wouldn’t be delighted to receive an online greeting card? A single click, though, may download malware to your device that could gather your personal information and bank details.
A free trial for the small price of delivery may seem like an offer that’s too good to miss, but clicking on the link will sign you up for a fake service that will bill you every month and may be very difficult to cancel.
Scammers set up websites offering help filling in online forms when applying for personal documents, like passports, birth certificates, and driving licences. Governments never charge a fee for filling in these forms.
Swindlers are very good at tugging on victims’ heartstrings. Immediately following a real disaster, they can have you making generous donations… straight into their own bank accounts!
This strategy mainly targets the elderly. Scammers inform their victims that they have won a substantial prize. All they have to do is pay a tax and some legal and delivery fees, and then all that money will be theirs…
Cybercriminals install malware that infects your computer, then demand a large sum of money to restore access to your data.
Bogus utility providers
These crooks pose as people working for your electricity or telephone provider, falsely claiming that you have unpaid charges on your account that need to be settled immediately otherwise service provision will be interrupted.
A pop-up window warning that your computer has been infected appears on your screen requesting remote access to your computer by an online technician (a similar ruse also happens over the phone). As well as gaining access to your device, the imposter will even ask for payment for their services!
Similar to the IT support scam, a fraudster posing as an employee from your bank offers online assistance to simplify your transactions. Your real bank would NEVER do this.
Scammers use dating websites and social media to win your trust. They then set up a meeting, but just need you to transfer of a bit of money to be able to get to the date…
A friend forwards you an enticing and exclusive money-making scheme – all they need is a few personal details. Watch out. This has most likely come from a scammer who has hacked your friend’s account or profile.
Fraudsters send an email that appears to be from a legitimate source linked to the recipient with the aim of convincing the victim to send money as payment for services or to hand over personal information.
These cyber-criminals target jobseekers. Posing as an employer, they send a fake cheque to their victim requesting that, once the cheque has been deposited, they transfer a small portion of the sum back to the company as a contribution to an employee fund.
Crooks “hire” jobseekers, transferring a sum of money into their account and requesting that this be sent on to another of the company’s employees. These accounts are corrupt. You’re being used as a money mule, a crime for which you could face arrest.
Car-wrap scam and fake cheques
Under the pretext of paying you to display a company logo on your car, scammers will send you a cheque to be deposited in your account with a request to transfer a portion of this sum to pay for the cost of wrapping your car. The cheque you were sent will never clear, but by the time you learn this the transfer from your account will have already been completed!
You receive an email from someone posing as your boss, asking you to make an urgent transfer because they’ve run into some minor difficulties while on a business trip. They’ll pay you right back, of course…
The miracle cure… that doesn’t exist
Fake online pharmacies promote exceptional products that are impossible to find anywhere else. You may never see these products once you’ve placed your order, or they may simply be totally ineffective!
Criminals recruit “finance officers” tasked with accepting payments from company clients. Victims make wire transfers from their own accounts, transferring the sum in Bitcoins to another employee. This is illegal conduct classified as money laundering.
Scammers request copies of your personal documentation (passport, ID cards, credit cards) for so-called “security reasons.” Sending these photocopies provides crooks with your photo and signature, as well as everything else!
Fake news may not have a direct impact on your bank balance, but in the long run, it alters the way you distinguish fact from fiction, making life easier for fraudsters.
Commonly practised in online marketplaces, a buyer overpays for an item, sending a bogus payment before asking for reimbursement of the amount overpaid.