Article Note: This article “5 Internet Scams People Generally Fall For – Make Sure You are Not the One!” was first published on March 17, 2017. We last updated this article with fresh information on February 3, 2023.
The Internet offers a wider variety of stuff for each of us! Quite equally, though, there are certain internet scams and threats to stay away from. If you become a victim, you may end up losing your data, privacy, and money. Last time we checked, not many people knew about these Internet scams.
How can you stay away from threats if you don’t know what they look like? And, making things worse, there are times when your carelessness goes beyond the notifying powers of antivirus programs. So, we thought of writing an article about the 5 common internet scams people generally fall for.
1. Fake Antivirus Scam
“Your PC is infected with 10 Viruses. Install the Antivirus now and protect your computer!”
You would have seen this pop-up message while browsing some not-so-trusted websites. Mostly, they can be seen on pirated content sites. This is one of the biggest and most widely-seen internet scams in the world of the web. The worst part is, most people become a victim of these threats in no time. Nowadays, these risks are seen in Android too. All of a sudden, your device will vibrate, and you will be asked to download the so-called anti-virus software for the smartphone.
In most cases, these fake antivirus programs fill your device with ads and pop-ups. We can’t underestimate these threats, though. In the event of certain internet scams, you will download and install ransomware on your PC. Ransomware will encrypt your data and will demand a ransom to receive the data back. Even if you pay something, there’s no assurance of getting the data back. The effective prevention method is to use an impressive antivirus program like Bitdefender Total Security which has an integrated pop-up ad blocker.
Recommended reading: Bitdefender Total Security 2017: Review.
2. You-Have-Won-A-Lottery Scam
We have seen this internet scam via different channels. Sometimes, hackers use email for communication. But the same kind of scam messages is delivered via standard SMS as well. So, the idea here is simple to understand. You will receive a message regardless of a lottery purchase. It says that you have won $10000000 as the lottery by blah-blah-blah corporation or something else. As the first step, you will be required to send your address, bank details, etc.
Scammers always try to make emails/SMSs look as genuine as possible. There will be an official seal or a trusted address. You may even find that the email is from a trusted authority. As said, they would collect the basic address and details first. This is, needless to say, a huge threat to most people out there. Then, if you are proceeding, you will be asked to pay a particular amount as a transaction fee. It’s also noticed that the scams are always international. That is, if you live in the United States, the lottery money would be surely from another country.
3. Romance-based Scams
There is a wide variety of such scams in the world of Social Networking sites. With the dawn of dating platforms, evil hands have made things simple. Suppose you are using Tinder or Facebook. All of a sudden, you receive a message from a beautiful girl in Europe or the Middle East. The messages are quite lifelike, and you become friends with her in a few minutes or so. As it turns out, she has a romantic interest in you, and you start a long-distance relationship. And, that’s where the twist comes in.
Your new romantic interest is in trouble. Maybe, she is going to get killed and wants to flee the country. Or, she wants money to come and visit you, at your own place. Either way, the motivation here is money, and you’re required to send a whole lot of money — to a provided PayPal email or via Wire Transfer. Although the communication methods may vary, you will be asked to send money to the person. All the claims would be seemingly genuine, and it takes people no time to be in this trap.
When using dating platforms, follow safety rules to protect personal information and prevent harm. Don’t share sensitive information, be cautious of money requests, verify profile authenticity, and use a reputable platform with strong security measures. To further ensure your safety, consider reading in-depth guidelines and learning more about the privacy terms of dating websites, such as Tinder, Bumble, or Ashley Madison reviews, and researching the platform’s security practices which can help you make informed decisions.
4. Phishing Email Scams
We really want to be specific here, but we cannot. There is a huge number of email phishing scams that we see every day. Hackers try to re-invent their methods using feedback from previous scams. The idea here is to send an email to the victim, on behalf of a social networking website, law authority, bank, or something else related to money. In the case of banking-based phishing attacks, the victim will be asked to share the login credentials. The email may say that the bank is upgrading its servers and that they have to store the user password combo for safety.
On the other hand, if you receive an email from a social networking website, it will be for stealing your login credentials. In these cases, there will be a Password Reset link. However, you will be redirected to a bogus site that looks exactly like Facebook or Twitter. Once you have entered the credentials, you’re done. Everything will be at the hacker’s end. Similarly, scammers have unique methods for all types of institutions. Because the email header and content seem legit, most people become prey for this sort of internet scam.
One thing you can do to prevent these attacks is to get an Internet Security package. There, you’ll have advanced options for spam protection and phishing protection.
5. Money Laundering
How would you believe that an incredibly wealthy ‘stranger’ likes to send Millions of Dollars to your account?
Well, money-laundering scams make you believe so, in different ways. First of all, there is an email to talk about the current situation of the sender. They might be in some financial issues or under a death threat. So, they want to transfer the money to you, and you receive a handsome amount of commission. Still, the catch is the same: you have to pay an amount as a part of transaction fees. Plus, you will have to share your address and other banking details.
It’s noteworthy that the scammers present the idea so convincingly. Victims don’t even doubt the legitimacy of the messages. So, most people end up sharing their information and losing money. There is nothing you can do to prevent being a victim of these threats — except have anti-spam protection and common sense.
Let’s Wrap Up
Apart from these, there are many other such Internet scams. For instance, we have seen people falling for the Hit-Man scam and Make-Money scams. In some cases, you’re losing your privacy and data — which is, in no way, better. Have you been a victim of any of these scams? Do let us know.