In 2021, online scams cost Americans more than $1.3 billion. By 2022, this number is expected to rise as scammers become increasingly sophisticated in their techniques. If you want to protect yourself from becoming a victim of online fraud, it’s important to know what to look for. In this article, we will discuss the different types of online scams and how you can avoid them.
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What are the Common Types of Online Scam?
There are many different types of online scams, but some of the most common include:
This is when scammers send fake emails or text messages purporting to be from a legitimate organization, such as your credit card company. The goal of a phishing attack is to sneakily acquire personal information like your login credentials or credit card number.
You might have downloaded a seemingly useful piece of software or visited a site with a sketchy ad. Now, your PC is infected with malware that can give the attacker access to your personal information or allow them to take control of your machine remotely.
Malware takes many forms. It can be a virus, which is a code that replicates itself and spreads to other computers. It can be spyware, which gathers information about you without your knowledge. Or it can be ransomware, which locks down your machine until you pay the attacker a ransom.
Social Engineering Attacks
Social engineering attacks are when an attacker uses psychological manipulation to get you to do something, such as clicking on a link, entering something into a form, or opening an attachment. They might pose as a customer service representative from your bank or pretend to be someone from the IT department who needs your password to fix a “problem.”
These often come from unsolicited emails or phone calls. Be very suspicious of any unsolicited contact from a company or organization and never give out your personal information unless you are absolutely certain of the source.
Once someone steals your information, they can use it to open credit cards, take out loans or even file a tax return in your name. They can do this by stealing your Social Security number, driver’s license number, or other personal information.
Identity theft is one of the most disturbing and dangerous types of online scams and can be very difficult to resolve. Be sure to keep your private information safe and secure, and monitor your credit report regularly for any suspicious activity.
How Can I Protect Myself?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from online scams:
Be Cautious About How Much Personal Information You Share
Don’t share too much personal information online, especially if you don’t know who the person is. Scammers steal your identity, commit fraud, or steal your money in various ways with this information.
Never Give Out Your Password
Be very cautious about to who you give your password to. Once someone has your password, they can access your accounts and steal your information. Ideally, no one should ever need your password except for you. Beware of any attempts to acquire your password, whether it be through email or just by someone looking over your shoulder.
Use a Strong Password
Make sure your passwords are lengthy, strong, and unique. A strong password is at least eight characters long and includes a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use easily guessed words like “password” or simple number sequences like “123456.”
Keep Your Software Up-To-Date
One of the best ways to protect yourself from malware is to keep your software up-to-date. This includes your operating system, web browser, plugins, and security software. By keeping everything up-to-date, you’ll have the latest security features and patches that can help protect you from attacks.
Monitor Your Accounts Regularly
You should check your bank and credit card statements regularly for any suspicious activity. If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.
You can also meticulously monitor your credit report for any suspicious activity. You’re allowed a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus every year.
By being aware of the types of online scams and taking steps to protect yourself, you can help reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be cautious about who you share your information with, and don’t hesitate to contact authorities if you think you’ve been scammed.
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