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Tips To Avoid Common Online Scams

Online scams come in a variety of forms and are very difficult to avoid. A website that uses poor spelling and grammar, requests payment through gift cards or money transfers, or attempts to collect personal data are all warning signs.

Never give out personal information unless you trust the source. Scammers may impersonate friends and family to convince you to send them money or to give them access to your account.

Cryptocurrency Scams

Cryptocurrency has become a popular investment option, but like any asset it can be susceptible to fraud. Investors should be wary of companies that promise get-rich-quick returns or require large investments upfront. Researching can help identify red flags such as poor white papers, a lack of transparency and excessive marketing. Contact and your local law-enforcement agencies as soon as possible if you’ve been a victim of a cryptocurrency fraud.

Scammers are targeting the growing number of crypto enthusiasts by using the same tactics as more traditional scams, such as fake celebrity endorsements and phishing. A common technique is to create a fake alert or pop-up that impersonates an established business, such as Amazon, Microsoft or FedEx. The scammer will trick you into clicking on a link or answering the phone to steal your personal data and money.

Another common cryptocurrency scam involves phishing private keys that can give you access to your cryptocurrency wallet. This allows criminals the opportunity to steal your tokens, or even empty your wallet. You should always use two-factor verification when you access your cryptocurrency to prevent this.

Other types of crypto scams include giveaways, romance scams, extortion, rug pulls, ICOs and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In a scam involving romance, the con artist creates an illusory profile on a dating site or social media platform and gradually gains your trust before suggesting you buy cryptocurrency. These scams can be particularly common around the holidays, and are difficult to report due to their anonymity and long-distance nature.

Luxury Goods Scams

The luxury goods industry is not immune to scams. These range from fake vintage bottles of wine, to knockoffs and classic cars, as well as high-end electronic devices. These scams not only drain the profits of the luxury goods industry but also diminish the intrinsic value and joy people get from these items.

Many luxury goods scams are carried out by using fake products that are hard to distinguish from the real thing, even for discerning consumers. This is particularly true for designer handbags which make up the majority of counterfeit luxury goods. Fraudsters are skilled at making their fake merchandise look real and are familiar with strategies to lure customers. For example, some of them will list their goods as pre-owned to justify the lower price, and they may prohibit returns or exchanges to limit the chances of getting snookered.

Other scams are intended to steal the personal information of a consumer. For example, some sellers on Facebook Marketplace use their conversations with buyers to obtain personal information that they can use for follow-on scams like identity theft or fraud. Scammers can switch the conversation to an unmonitored chat app like WhatsApp. In other instances, they can spam giveaway offers on a number of different platforms to gain as much information about the victims as possible.

The best way to avoid luxury goods scams, is to only buy from trusted resellers or official retail sites. Additionally, consumers should stay informed about the latest scams and protect their financial accounts by using robust password protection tools. Also, consumers should be cautious when sellers ask for payment methods other than cash or credit card, such as wire transfer or money order. It’s also a good idea to read reviews of products and sellers on social media before committing to a purchase. This can help them identify red flags, such as negative reviews or suspicious activities. Regular updates from insurance providers and credit card companies on the latest scams can go a long way in helping consumers protect themselves from the most common online scams.

Scams Involving Credit Cards

Americans make trillions of dollars worth of credit card transactions each year, and scammers are savvy enough to take advantage of the opportunity. One of the most common credit card scams involves stealing your card information or enough of your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to make unauthorized charges on your cards or in your name. This can result in money lost, a damaged or ruined credit report, or even an identity theft.

Criminals employ different methods to steal your credit card details, but all of them are focused on getting the account number and PIN. For example, criminals can spoof your phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot to lure you into giving them your credit card number to pay for internet access, or they could physically swipe your card at a gas station or storefront that isn’t secure.

Other scams include phony rewards programs or credit card offers that do not exist. These scams usually include a fake email or website that asks for your credit card number as well as other PII to receive the promised rewards. Criminals can take over your credit card or sell data to other scammers.

Some of the most damaging credit card scams involve identity theft and fraud. Fraudsters can use stolen credit card and PII to take over your accounts, rack up huge balances that earn rewards points, convert those points to cash and then cancel the purchases to avoid detection. They might also report your card as lost or stolen and start a new one, which can ruin your credit and expose you to fraudulent charges for a long time.

Consumers can safeguard themselves by staying vigilant and reviewing their credit report regularly. They should also report any unauthorized charges made to the major credit bureaus. They can also purchase credit card protection services, like Aura, to prevent fraud.

Consumers can avoid some of these credit-card scams by inspecting any payment machines that they use. Look for signs of skimming such as mismatched graphics and fonts. They can also cover the keypad when entering their pin code and use mobile payment options that don’t require swiping. Also, consumers can buy a credit card that has a microchip to help prevent criminals from trying to steal your card data. 

Social Media Scams

Social media plays a major role in our daily lives. But it is also a popular hunting ground for scammers. Cybercriminals use social networking sites to steal personal information, impersonate executives and brands, and commit online frauds such as crypto, currency, and gift card scams. Social media posts, accounts and DMs will generate $770 million worth of fraud in 2021.

Fraudsters try to lure users into phishing sites or fake profiles by sharing links. They may ask you for personal information such as your bank account number or credit card number.

Social media scams can also include fake giveaways from companies, nonexistent grants from governments, ads for fake healthcare products, and ads that trick you into clicking links that contain malware. These scams can slow down your computer, cause you unknowingly to download malware, or expose your business and personal data.

Criminals can also use social media to gain access to people’s private messages or posts to commit identity theft. They can use these stolen details to gain a foothold in your company network and steal sensitive data from employees or customers.

Fraudsters can also pose as trusted third parties to sell counterfeit products or knockoffs on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. They can copy product images and taglines to trick consumers into believing they’re purchasing a genuine product. Scammers may also use shortened URLs to hide the URL of a phishing or website, making it harder to determine the legitimacy.

It’s important for your organization’s security team to stay on top of social media scams and educate employees on how to identify and avoid them. SOC teams should consider using a threat-intelligence platform that can monitor social networks, flag suspicious activities and provide real time alerts. This can prevent malicious links from compromising your business, devices, data, and systems.

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