Online scams are a very topical topic in this period. In this article, we see how they are increasing, how to recognize them and what to do in case of online scams.
Online Scams Are More And More Widespread
It is undeniable that the pandemic has brought with it an increase in cybercrime. Especially in the healthcare sector, online scams are rampant, updating methods and keeping up with the times.
Most of these scams involve:
- fake medicine and vaccine ads,
- hygiene products,
- coronavirus test kit.
Emails sent by the ministry are widespread. Often they promise non-repayable contributions to be collected or bonuses and tax suspensions which refer to a clone site.
Online Phishing Scams
There is also no shortage of charity-themed scams for the Coronavirus. Most of these scams are perpetrated by phishing, smishing or attacks on networks and systems with data breaches. All this to obtain sensitive personal data.
According to statistics, EU users have experienced security problems. Over the past three years, one-third of users have received fraudulent emails or phone calls requesting personal data.
Online Scams During The Pandemic
The Criminal Police Analysis Service performed a detailed crime analysis during the pandemic. There was a 17.8% increase in online scams in 2020 compared to 2019.
According to this statistic, in May 2020, the month in which the lockdown was extended, the maximum number of computer frauds was recorded: 9427.
Online Scams: What They Are
We can distinguish online scams into three types that see a weight of the identity assumed by the scammer:
- It has a reduced importance; it may be that it coincides with the real one.
- The victim may know by reputation the person or organization whose identity the scammer has stolen. There are no direct relationships between the subjects; in this case, the goal is to involve without resorting to particular procedures of mutual authentication.
- It is a declared fictitious identity aimed at a specific victim; in addition to the essence, other information is required for the success of the deception. The scam, in this case, is very complex, but despite this, it is the most widespread since it is the most profitable.
What Is The Most Common Online Scam?
The most common online scam is when the seller sells a good, collects the money, and does not ship the goods. Most cases, the goods sold are non-existent, and the listing photos are fake.
Another popular online scam is that of the non-existent vacation rental. In this case, the scammer publishes an ad for a beautiful vacation rental with beautiful photos. The victim books the stay by paying a deposit to the scammer; the holidays arrive, and once the victim has gone to the holiday resort, he discovers that the house does not exist, and the scammer disappears into thin air.
Online Scams: The Detail
Generally, the most famous online scams are shopping scams, fake lotteries, and romantics … let’s see them in detail:
- Purchases are almost always offered for sale at an advantageous price that will never reach their destination.
- Romantics: on the increase during 2020, these exploit the need to relate. This prompts the victim to lend help (mostly money) by leveraging the relationship of trust created, a scam known as catfishing.
- Lottery: emails that communicate the winning of a lottery sum; usually, after first contact, you are asked to pay a sum to release the winnings to be paid to a foreign account.
The Fraudulent Donations
Then there are the fraudulent Donation scams made by those who pretend to belong to a charity; these scams, often sent by email, ask for money by leveraging the sense of benevolence, usually written in ungrammatical Italian.
The most famous and technically sophisticated scams ask for personal information through unauthorized access to databases, phishing, vishing or smishing.
Techniques often add up, and the victim is targeted; the calls seem to come from their bank’s customer service (they are professionals). For this reason, the interested party puts the access pins of his account in the hands of the attacker.
How To Avoid Online Scams?
The types and techniques used for online scams are endless and are becoming more and more refined. However, some measures limit the risk of ending up in an online fraud network.
Here are some tips:
- Do not disclose your access passwords and sensitive data to anyone
- Use alphanumeric, lowercase, uppercase and special characters passwords
- Change passwords frequently
- Use secure online payment methods
- Please do not click on links that we are not sure where they came from
- Keep your operating system up to date
- Have a good antivirus on your computer
- Always read the reviews of the sites on which you make purchases
- Check your credit card balance often and monitor your expenses
How To Defend Yourself From Online Scams
Avoiding these scams is possible with a few tricks. It is essential to know that acquiring information or cloning a web page from an accurate site is quite simple. If done by professionals with the proper means, it becomes hazardous.
You always have to raise the bar by staying alert.
Suspect any abnormal procedure; if it seems too advantageous, let’s ask ourselves some questions, especially if it pushes us to act quickly; they often leverage this.