Internet Fraud – Discover The Most Common
Surely you have heard in the news about Internet fraud. It is true that, just as our daily life is increasingly digital, it is also increasingly in the online environment where scams occur. However, the truth is that most online frauds are easily identifiable, and it is enough to take a few simple precautions to navigate safely.
In this guide, we will give you guidelines so that you can continue enjoying all the good things about technology while keeping yourself safe from possible scams. Let’s see which are the most common and how we can avoid them.
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Phishing, One Of The Most Common Internet Frauds
Phishing means fishing in English. By doing the translation, you can already imagine how this scam works. The cybercriminal does “throw the cane” and waits for those who surf the net to “bite”.
Its way of operating is to impersonate an entity you trust and impersonate it: Social Security, bank, Netflix, university, Treasury… Normally you receive an email or SMS from a company or association that it is your trust. It is usually a communication that seeks to create in you the urgent need to click on the link that goes in the message.
For example, it may be the Treasury telling you that you have a refund pending receipt and that they need your bank account number or Social Security warning you that you have a debt pending payment and must settle it as soon as possible. Or it could be Netflix (or another similar service) making you a great offer or even your bank asking for some missing personal information about you.
Since the user trusts the message’s sender and gives credibility to it, they end up clicking on the link and providing the requested information. He does not know that he is not accessing the entity’s real website but rather a copy of it. When you enter data such as your credit card number, it goes directly into the criminal’s hands.
What does the cybercriminal do with the information? It can “hijack” your social networks and ask you for payment to regain access, use your card details to make online purchases, loot your bank accounts, impersonate your identity online, sell your data on the black market, etc.
Can Phishing Be Prevented?
If you’ve ever gone fishing, you may have come home without a single fish, and that’s what we should be getting when a cybercriminal tries to commit a phishing scam: drop the rod, but no one bites.
To achieve this, the best thing you can do is never trust communications from unknown senders. If you don’t know who sent you the email, try not to open the message and delete it directly. If the communication comes from your bank, the Treasury, or another trusted sender, always remember that none of these entities will ask you for personal data through an email or SMS.
When in doubt, access its website directly from your browser by typing the entity’s address and, if necessary, contact it to check if the information you have received is true or if it is fraud.
Until a few years ago, it was relatively easy to identify fraudulent messages since they were usually badly written, and their appearance already made you suspicious. However, criminals are increasingly taking care of this aspect. So don’t trust a communication because it needs to be correctly written or visually believable.
One last way to ensure the communication is real is to cut and paste everything that appears in the sender’s email address starting at the at sign (@) and search the Internet for it. If the address is legitimate, it will send you to the website of the real entity. If it’s illegitimate, it will get you nowhere.
Fraudulent Online Shops
Who has never made an online purchase? Electronic commerce has increased significantly in the last decade, and as it has developed, the fraud associated with this activity has also grown. Since cybercriminals are after money, it is not surprising that they also create fake online shops to deceive people who buy from them.
The operation of this type of scam is usually similar in all cases. The criminal creates a fake website where they sell a product in high demand at a truly irresistible price. In this way, the person’s curiosity is aroused, who clicks on the link and, from there, is directed to something that looks like an official online store, although it is not.
In these cases, you will carry out the purchase process as normal. You put the product in the shopping cart, indicate the delivery address and make the payment. It is possible that right after you receive an email confirming the transaction, which is what legitimate digital stores usually do. It’s not until a few days later that you realize the problem: the package never arrives, and when you go to complain to the store, you discover that no one is behind giving support.
This is one version of this scam, but there are several. An example is the selling company that delivers a product whose quality has little or nothing to do with what was shown on the web (this happens a lot with clothing and footwear) or the one that sends a package full of useless objects, such as paper or stones.
It’s not just that the cybercriminal person keeps the money from your purchase; it’s that they have all your data and can do whatever they want. In addition, when accessing its website, malware may have been installed on your device.
It is a malicious computer program that can collect your data, access your files, or monitor your online activity, among other things. The criminal can use the information to extort you or sell it to third parties.
How To Avoid This Fraud?
You should never access any website from advertising you see on social networks. If you have observed something interesting, write the store address in your address bar and access it directly from your browser.
On the other hand, if it is an establishment you have yet to learn, it is worth researching beforehand. Do a Google search like this: “reviews about (store name)”. You will immediately be able to learn about the experience of previous customers, which will let you know if it is a legit store or a scam.
But do not trust if there are no opinions. The criminal may have just created the website, but there is still insufficient information about it. Remember that many people who have been scammed online are ashamed to admit it and do not warn others.
One last thing to keep in mind. If the offer is too good to be true, it is likely not true and is a scam.