Online scams are a problem that has been occurring for a long time, where vulnerable people or people with certain needs are the target of these scams.
The types of fraud are usually the same but always seem to be refined, and in this last year, where almost the entire population of the planet has had to be quarantined because of the Covid-19 pandemic, scams have increased due to the need to handle much of our live routines using the internet and electronics devices. Whether it be for work, shopping or keeping in touch with the outside world, so digital security has gained more relevance to protect our information.
Protecting your digital information doesn’t mean only that you need encrypting communications or creating complex passwords. Its also about learning the ways in which scammers might try to steal money from you, because once everybody get aware of how they work, it will be more difficult to fall for these scams.
Most popular online scams
Scams are ranked or measured by the number of people who have fallen for them, and by the average amount of money that has been fraudulently stolen. This is how, according to some research, the top 5 list of the most popular online scams in 2021 have been obtained:
Emails pretending to be courier companies
The scammers are taking advantage of the fact that more people are making electronic purchases due to the confinement. And the method of fraud consists of making the buyer believe that he can track his order through a link that redirects to a fake page that pretends to be a courier company, or asks you to install an app, and thus be able to obtain data from your bank data, like debit or credit cards, and steal your money.
False announcements about Covid
Using Covid is another common technique used by scammers. Scammers impersonate official bodies to inform you about perimeter restrictions, Covid aid announcements to companies, vaccination notices, etc. These messages may redirect you to a fake page to steal your data, or ask you to download a malicious attachment. WhatsApp is also used to make this fraud viral.
Fake WhatsApp verification codes
WhatsApp account theft is another method used to obtain victim information. The criminal sets up WhatsApp on a cell phone using the victim’s phone number, then the scammer asks the victim to forward the verification code received by SMS.
Phishing of banks and payment services
Pretending to be the bank or payment services such as PayPal, either through email or SMS to take you to a fake page and try to steal your credentials.
Phishing of online classes or videoconferencing services
The pandemic and confinement have led to an accelerated growth of users of these services, which has also caused criminals to increase frauds related to these services. This fraud is usually carried out by stealing Zoom accounts by email sending you a fake link with an invitation for a meeting with subjects such us suspension of labor contract, or sending malicious attachments along with invitations.
Avoiding online Scams
And in the end, the goal is trying to steal your personal account access data, or to infect your device with malware.
If you have given your phone number to one of these scams or downloaded an app, check on your phone bill and make sure you don’t have any surprises. In this case contact your phone company to report any irregularity.
If you have given your card number, keep an eye on the bank charges and contact your bank. If necessary, you may have to apply for a new card and cancel your current one.
If you have downloaded any files, you should run a scan with a security application to check that you do not have any malicious applications on your device or malware on your computer.