Some people might insist that only people who aren’t tech-savvy fall for internet scams, but this is far from true. The reality is that scammers are always finding new ways to bypass security. Online theft is on the rise, and it will continue to remain popular among thieves as long as people keep falling for their scams.
So, what popular online scams should you know about? Here are some basics.
An insidious online scam involves scammers making a convincing fake website, usually a storefront like eBay or Amazon. Normally, unsuspecting victims of this scam happen upon these fake sites by following links from emails that purport to be from the retailer they’re copying.
These emails might be disguised as advertisements for sales. Once a victim follows the link, they’re met with a webpage that looks indistinguishable from the real thing. Once they input their credit card information, the scammers have access to their money, and the victim won’t even realize they’ve just handed over their card.
The best way to avoid these scams is to only ever navigate to websites via the URL bar at the top of your browser. While you’re at it, make sure you’re carefully reading the address bar on a site before you hand over any sensitive personal information.
Another hard-to-spot scam is called SIM swapping. If you have two-factor authentication set up on your online accounts, this is a scam you need to watch out for. Scammers will call your cell provider and convince them that they’re actually you. Then, they’ll say they want to activate a new SIM card with your phone number. This results in your phone getting disconnected, and any messages meant for you going to the scammer instead.
If you use text messages for your two-factor authentication, this means that a scammer is very close to breaking into your online accounts. Stop this from happening by setting your authentications to go through apps like Google Authenticator instead. Also, call your cell service provider and set up a PIN with them that needs to be used before your SIM can be swapped.
Every day, scammers come up with insidious new ways to phish for usernames and passwords. Never give anyone access to your passwords or username, no matter how much you think they can be trusted. Anyone you’re talking to online could be a scammer just trying to win your confidence before springing a nasty scheme.