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Internet Scams: Protect Yourself from Fraudulent Activities

The internet has revolutionized how we live, work, and communicate. But, with the growth of technology, internet scams have become prevalent, making it important to be aware of the most common scams and how to avoid them.

Carl Gamutan

by Carl Gamutan

Publishing Date: March 24, 2023


Phishing Scams:

Phishing scams are emails or websites that look legitimate but are designed to steal personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or social security numbers. According to CNBC, the rate of phishing attacks saw a significant rise of 61% during the last six months of 2022 as compared to the previous year.

  • Be wary of emails or websites that ask for personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or social security numbers.
  • Always check the sender's email address, domain name, and website URL to ensure they are legitimate.
  • Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown sources.

Investment Scams:

Investment scams offer a false promise of high returns for a low investment and are often carried out through online advertisements or unsolicited emails. Comparitech estimates indicate that in 2021, fewer than 90,000 Americans experienced investment fraud, resulting in approximately $1.6 billion losses.

  • Be cautious of unsolicited emails or advertisements offering high returns for low investments.
  • Research the investment opportunity and the company offering it before making any investment decisions.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions and seek advice from financial professionals.

Online Auction Scams:

Online auction scams often involve a seller who takes payment for a product but never delivers the goods. According to the FTC, imposter scams were responsible for over $2.3 billion in reported losses last year, which represents an increase from $1.2 billion in 2020. Additionally, the FTC reported that online shopping scams accounted for around $392 million in losses from consumers in the same year, marking a rise from $246 million in 2020.

  • Only purchase items from reputable online auction websites.
  • Check the seller's feedback and rating before making a purchase.
  • Use secure payment methods, such as PayPal or a credit card, to ensure you have protection in case of a scam.

Tech Support Scams:

Tech support scams are calls or pop-up ads that offer to fix computer problems for a fee. These scammers often ask for remote access to the victim's computer, allowing them to steal sensitive information. According to the FBI, nearly 24,000 Americans reported losing close to $348 million as a result of tech support scams in 2021, a 137% increase in losses from the prior year.

  • Do not trust unsolicited phone calls or pop-up ads offering tech support.
  • If you are in need of tech support, reach out to the manufacturer of your device or a reputable tech support company.
  • Do not provide remote access to your computer to anyone you do not trust.

Dating Scams:

Dating scams are often carried out through online dating websites or apps, where scammers create fake profiles to deceive their victims into sending them money. In 2021, dating scams resulted in a loss of $1 billion globally (according to a report by the FBI).

  • Be cautious of online profiles that seem too good to be true.
  • Do not send money to someone you have not met in person.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the dating website or app you are using.

Pension Scam:

A fraudulent activity in which individuals are convinced to transfer their pension savings into a false investment, resulting in the loss of their entire retirement savings. The FBI reported that investment scams caused over 2,100 older individuals (60 years and above) to incur a loss of over $239 million in the year 2021. This highlights the devastating impact that pension scams can have on an individual's financial future and the importance of being informed and cautious when it comes to pension investments.

  • Be cautious of unsolicited offers of pension investments, especially if they promise high returns with low risk.
  • Research any investment opportunity before making a decision. Check the reputation of the company and the investment opportunity with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or similar authority in your country.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions and seek advice from financial professionals or pension specialists.
  • Be wary of cold calls and unsolicited emails, and do not provide personal or financial information to anyone you do not trust.
  • Consider transferring your pension savings to a regulated pension scheme to ensure the safety of your retirement savings.

To avoid falling victim to these scams, it is important to be cautious when providing personal information online, to never send money to someone you have not met in person, and to verify the legitimacy of emails or websites before entering any personal information. It is also advisable to keep your computer and software up-to-date to minimize the risk of cyberattacks.

In conclusion, internet scams are a growing problem that can result in significant financial losses. By being aware of the most common scams and how to avoid them, individuals can protect themselves from fraudulent activities.

For more information on internet scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission's website (www.ftc.gov) or the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov).