Watch Out for Internet Scams

In 2019 the FBI documented 3.5 billion in losses. In 2020 cybercrime reached 4.2 billion in losses.

Cybercriminals spend their time stealing and conducting fraudulent activity.

Some Top Internet Scams

Here is just the top of the list:

  • COVID scams
  1. The health organization: A scammer will tell you they are with the World Health Organization, or the U.S. Center for Disease Control.
  2. The non-profit donation: You donate to an organization claiming to be a non-profit, a hospital, or another organization from an email you received. Always donate through a reputable website.
  3. The financial offer: They get you to think they are banks, debt collectors, or investors. Their offers are designed to steal your financial information.
  4. The government source: They pose as the Internal Revenue Service, the Canadian Safety Net for the Elderly, the Social Security Office, or local tax authority. None of these organizations would call you on the phone or email you.
  5. The website selling products: They offer to sell you facemasks, hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, and other vital life-saving products. They take your money but never send you the life protection items you paid for. Buy from well-known marketers.

Disguising themselves as a reputable and familiar entity (like your bank), the email tries to get you to click on it. Once you do, you are taken to a site that steals your information and exposes your computer to attack. Always look at the sender’s email. If it doesn’t come from the organization, report it and delete it.

  • Online retail scams
  1. Fake shopping websites: Fake websites offer “deals” on well-known brands. They mimic the URLs of those brands. If you buy, you’ll either receive contraband or nothing at all.
  2. Formjacking: A legitimate, well-known brand’s website is hacked, then buyers get hijacked to a fraudulent payment page. The scammer then steals your credit card information
  • Antivirus scareware

Ads and popups try to get you to believe that your computer is infected with a virus. They tell you that you can fix the problem by downloading their software, gaining access to both your credit card and your computer.

  • Fake check or money transfer

Someone offers you more than your offering price, but the check they send is counterfeit, you get conned into sending the difference back to them, then when the counterfeit check bounces, you owe the bank, and they got your money.

  • The lottery scam

These scam artists tell you that you’ve won major money from the lottery or some other big sweepstakes, but you must send in some processing money. Gotcha.

  • Debt-relief and credit-repair scams

People with bad credit sometimes fall for an email claiming to repair their credit. They say they negotiate with your creditors and remove negative information from your credit report. The scammers charge upfront fees, but then of course have no help to offer.

  • Pre-Approved scam

A letter comes to you in the mail claiming that you are pre-approved for a bank loan or a credit card. Credit card companies never charge an upfront fee to apply for a card or bank loan. These do.

  • 419 fraud, advance fee, or Nigerian scam

One of the most common, a wealthy Nigerian or other West African family wants to relocate a large sum out of their country, but you need to submit payments for large chunks of their cash. Don’t respond. Instead, forward the info to the FBI.

  • Tech support scams:

You’ll receive a phone call, an email, or a pop-up warning you that your computer is infected. They wouldn’t know.

What You Should Conclude

You’re most likely being scammed if anyone asks for your banking or personal information.