You may have heard about many scams happening in today’s world, but do you ever wonder what actually is a ‘scam’? When did it start? How do people even do it?
In simpler words, a “scam” is a trick used to get people to part with their money for nothing. Thanks to the internet, con artists and fraudsters can now deceive people more efficiently than ever!
Perhaps it is due to the growing power of digitalization and e-commerce. Scams today are flourishing in the world of the internet as everyone today uses it for both business and pleasure because they think it is far from dangerous. The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center received 351,936 reports about internet crimes in 2018, resulting in damages of more than $2.7 billion, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report. Everyone who uses a device connected to the internet has the potential to fall victim to online fraud, according to a 2017 Federal Trade Commission study.
Recently, scammers have taken over the internet using various techniques due to the pandemic, which has caused an increase in online scams by 600 percent. In the US, 1.3 million youngsters experience identity theft, while one in ten adults falls prey to online fraud. Additionally, phishing efforts increased by 65% in 2019, while payment fraud affected 82% of firms. Insane!
Moreover, cryptocurrency, internet platforms, online shopping, dating applications, charity and donation websites, and other similar businesses have all seen a sharp rise in the risk of scams. These online con artists can access your personal and professional lives without you even having a little knowledge. In fact, they know you more than you know yourself!
The question is, how do these scammers access your information, and to what extent do they misuse it? Continue reading; this article is all about it!
How Do Scammers Access Your Personal Information?
Stealing someone’s personal information is also known as identity theft. Basically, Identity fraud is the use of stolen or access personal information to commit fraudulent acts.
But how do scammers even get our personal information? When we sometimes get daily calls from scammers, how did they know which number to call? Let’s discover!
• Debit & Credit Cards
These two cards are every scammer’s dream! As they can occasionally be used when we make purchases over the phone or online, it makes them an attractive target for ID fraud.
It has long been a popular method to get credit or debit card information via skimming ATMs. This could involve inserting a device into an ATM that reads and extracts data from a card’s magnetic strip.
Mounted objects on or near the ATM, pieces of plastic or metal that don’t match the ATM’s original color, or a protruding keypad could be indicators that the ATM has been tampered with; however, it can be impossible to know for sure, and it is always recommended always to shield your pin.
• Bank Accounts, Bank Statements & More
Your name, address, and account information are usually included on bank and credit card statements, as well as any other mail you get; Identity thieves can exploit this information to commit fraud.
Moreover, to intercept your mail and potentially steal any critical data, fraudsters may forward it to another location, frequently referred to as a “collection address.” How clever!
Also, criminals can try to access online bank accounts where they can execute transactions and money transfers by developing fake websites to deceive individuals into entering their personal information.
Scammers may also ask you to verify information about yourself while posing as a bank representative or another reliable organization.
• Social Media Information
Criminals might target your social media accounts to gather details that they can use to figure out your password, PIN, or the answers to a security question.
Since a PIN or password can provide quick access to another person’s accounts, identity thieves and criminals frequently target them. How sad!
Also, do you know that the pictures you post on your social media accounts and your photo IDs can also serve as a valuable information tool for scammers?
Criminals can change photographic identification, such as driver’s licenses, to create a new identity or assume an existing one. After that, they might use it to open new accounts and collect your debts. Woah!
Lastly, don’t forget that you can even receive emails on your social media accounts which may serve as a treasure for all the scammers out there. This method, also known as phishing, involves sending fake or fraudulent emails that an unwitting target may open under the impression that they are from a reliable source (e.g., .gov.uk). The email could contain a virus that tries to steal data from your computer, or it could try to get you to reply with personal information. Oops!
• Emails & Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts files and documents on anything from a single PC to an entire network, including servers. Victims are given a choice; they can either regain access to the encrypted network by paying a ransom to the criminals behind the ransom attack or just hope there is a chance of a decryption key.
Ransomware attacks are among the most prominent cybersecurity problems on the internet, and one of the most effective forms of cybercrime organizations face today. They may start with someone clicking on a link or attachment, leading to multiple downloads of malicious payloads. Some ransom attacks use software exploits and cracked passwords to access organizations’ flaws, such as remote-desktop logins to gain access and internet-facing servers. Scammers hunt the network to encrypt.
There are several ways by which ransomware can take access to the computer. One of the most common delivery systems is phishing spam, where attachments come to the victim through email, masquerading as a file they need to trust. As soon as they are downloaded, they have all access to the victims’ devices. This ease of spreading ransomware in email is why it is a typical attack. Some software even has security holes that are used to infect computers without needing to trick users. In extreme cases, the attacker may claim to be a law enforcement agency shutting down the victims’ device by giving reasons such as the presence of pornography, later demanding the payment of a ‘fine.’ It prevents people from going to the police and reporting to authorities because it makes them think they are at fault. However, some attackers do not even deal with making up stories and threaten the victim to publicize their sensitive and personal data if they do not pay in the given time.
• Lastly, Your CVs
You probably have a CV by now, and you know your name, address, career history, and contact information can all be found on it.
Hence, scammers can use it to register new accounts or get access to already-existing ones. They may use employment scams to obtain your resume; they may involve creating fictitious job openings to establish contact.
In exchange for a one-time payment, the scammer guarantees to complete the work. They may also ask for your bank account details so that they can transfer commission money to you directly from their bank account. However, this is a ruse to obtain your bank account information to steal your identity. Although scammers sometimes target people via phone and postal mail, job scams are most commonly sent by email. In certain situations, job postings that become scams are approved by job search portals without their knowledge.
Moreover, generating income from home comfort has always appealed to job-seekers worldwide, and job scammers know this. Work-from-home job scams have been around for decades, but statistics show that as the pandemic came, people were forced to work from home, raising these to a great extent.
These scams seek to take your money in various ways, such as by making you pay enrollment fees, training, or useless certifications, among others. Some examples of fake work-from-home jobs could include stuffing envelopes, which involves signing up by paying a fee to stuff envelopes from home reselling merchandise, which consists in buying luxury products for less than their retail price and reselling them at a higher price.
Therefore, you may verify a company’s legitimacy by checking its contact information, visiting its website, or conducting a corporate search.
If you have been scammed through online, then contact us to get your money back!
How Else Can Scammers Misuse Your Personal Information
• Medical Treatments
People that steal your information don’t only use it to make expensive purchases. They can also use it to receive medical treatment by using their Social Security number and health insurance account numbers.
Hackers can use your insurance to get medicines, prescriptions, and more. This can result in higher costs for you as well as a risk to your health because the thief’s medical information will now be mixed in with yours.
In fact, according to research from Michigan State University, from October 2009 to December 2016, there were almost 1,800 medical data breaches involving patient information. Damn!
• Book Flights
Do you know that hackers can access your email and credentials to plan travel or even exchange your airline points for cash? It is possible to convert airline miles simply by visiting websites that sell miles.
Therefore, use a different password from the one you use for other accounts to assist prevent this and keep track of your mile activity frequently.
• Fraudulent Charities
Are you also one of those willing to donate money to those innocents getting affected in these challenging times? As long as it is excellent to do, you should know that hundreds of scammers use the invasion to trick you out of your money, either through a phishing scam or one of those fake social media sites claiming to be fundraisers.
After gaining control of an innocent person’s social media account, these scammers start working on reaching friends and family members. They pressure them into donating as soon as possible. So, if you receive a message from one of your acquaintances, be aware!
These scams have ranged from bogus nonprofit websites on newly registered web addresses to malicious attempts to steal personal data from intended donations to emerging countries. It has been revealed that many scammers were impersonating contact details with websites to look legitimate. Hence, many scammers use plain old Email accounts to defraud their victims.
• Romance Scams
It all begins with a fake profile. Scammers put on appealing displays and start reaching out to the victims by claiming similarities with them, shared interests, and a mutual connection. Woah.
Once they have built a deeper understanding and so-called ‘relationship,’ they start asking for money and personal information, which makes the scam easier. They are extra skilled at playing with emotions, and their stories are endless stories that put never-ending pressure on the victims
Protect Yourself from Dangerous Scams Now!
• Make sure you finish your Homework
Everything should be read and inspected. Always read the website carefully. If an offer appears to be suspect or too good to be true, it most likely is.
• Maintain the security of your desktops and mobile devices
The most effective defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats is utilizing the most up-to-date security software, web browser, and operating system.
Automatic updates should be enabled to ensure you receive the most up-to-date patches as soon as they become available.
• Create passwords that are difficult to guess
When creating a password, make sure it is at least eight characters long and has a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Personal information should be kept private.
The password reset tools can be hacked using social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer the security questions in the password reset tools.
• Lockdown your privacy settings
Avoid posting personal information such as birthdays, residences, mother’s maiden name, and other such details. Keep an eye out for requests to connect from persons you don’t recognize.
Personal information should not be shared. Scammers can gain access to practically every facet of their life if they have the correct information. This includes taking your identity as well as money and other accounts. Never give up account information, social security numbers, credit card numbers, or passwords to strangers unless you know they are and the request is valid.
Put an End To Scams Entirely - Contact Funds Trace!
We’ve become so accustomed to utilizing the internet that it’s easy to forget that bad guys are out there. Even Apps like Uber now bring strangers to our doorsteps so we can take a ride in their automobile.
Hence, scams will continue to exist as long as people fall for them. But by following the guidelines above, you can safeguard yourself and your bank account.
Also, if you’ve already been a victim, do not be afraid of your scammer and report your scam case to FundsTrace today and start working towards recovering 100% of your stolen amount. They understand that after being scammed, your trust levels have fallen; therefore, to develop a relationship of trust with their clients, they offer Free initial consultation to all those who reach out to them. What’s stopping you? Report your scam today!