The benefits of technology are immense. Sitting in your home, you can pay your bills, shop for groceries and gadgets, and communicate with family and friends located in any corner of the globe. This same technology that you use to improve your life has also given online criminals an anonymous way to commit crime without the victim’s’ knowledge. Yes, this is true!
Just like you can access numerous sites, criminals too can access your computer and sensitive data to perpetrate fraud. Some nations are more affected than others, and Americans, unfortunately, due to their pervasive use of technology often fall victim to online fraud.
Here are the top five online fraud notions conceived that primarily target Americans:
This scam is perpetrated either through social networking sites or emails, where cyber criminals communicate with you using authentic looking messages. You may feel that your bank, social networking site, or the tax authorities have sent you a message. The aim of this trick you into typing out your log-in details for your bank account, social networking profile, cloud storage, or any other online platform where you store your personal and confidential data.
The email that you get will look authentic and will contain a link that you need to click. It will then take you to a website that looks legitimate where you will be asked to enter your log-in details. The moment you do this, you hand over control of that account to cyber criminals, who will hack into your account to withdraw all your money or sell your information to nefarious elements on the dark web. Just read Lee Child’s Make Me book!
The Nigerian Scam was one of the first scams that cyber criminals launched on the Internet, and it is still going strong. This scam begins with an email making an emotional appeal to you from an ultra-wealthy family member, businessman or senior government official to help get access to astronomical amounts of money from a bank. The email will request you to pay a small fee for some paperwork and handling legal matters and will promise you a large sum of money in return.
If you get greedy and fall for this scam, you will be financially devastated. The request for money is ongoing and you will have to keep giving it to the scam artists. You may even get some official looking documents to convince you to part with more money. The result of all the variations of Nigerian scams is the same; you will be left broke and will not receive a cent from the ‘deal’.
Greeting Card Scam
You may get a greeting card in the form of an email. It will appear as though a friend or acquaintance has sent it to you. If you click card in the email, it will cause a malicious software to get downloaded onto your system. This software can cause multiple pop-up windows to open, or in the worst case scenario, it could be a ransomware, asking you to pay money to give you access to your system.
If your computer contains sensitive data, the criminal controlling the software will be able to access this data and use it to their benefit. As a result, it could lead to identity theft, hacking of back accounts or accessing your social media platforms to get access to your personal and private data.
Credit Card Scam
In these tough times, many people have poor or low credit. So it can be tough for them to get a bank offer for a credit card. Remember, if anything is too good to be true, it probably is, and hence, you shouldn’t get fooled by it.
If you think about it logically, why will a bank or credit card company offer you a credit card without having a clue about your financial situation? While many Americans have wizened up to this scam, there are still some that fall prey to it. As a result, they end up paying the mandatory processing fee, after which they never see the promised credit card or hear from the scam perpetrators.
According to the Federal Trade Commission or FTC, identity theft is extremely widespread in the US, with a minimum of 490,000 people reporting this type of fraud. All it takes is a cyber-criminal getting access to your personal information or email to perpetrate identity theft.
The online fraud typically involves stealing your banking information, Social Security Number, and or your credit card details. Then the scam artist will use this information to carry out financial transactions or make purchases. And, you will be held responsible for them. Missouri has the highest complaints of identity theft, according to Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. The second place goes to Connecticut, followed by Florida in third place.
These are the top five online fraud schemes targeting Americans. It is vital you adopt outstanding online security measures such as using VPN to prevent you becoming a target. Also, check your bank account and other financial statements carefully each month. Above all, never part with your financial details and Social Security Number.