"Con games," "Scam," "Stratagem (deception)," and “Confidence trick” are all terms used to express the attempt to defraud a person after first gaining their confidence. Fraud, in all its forms, has been a very difficult issue to deal with for all countries over the years. And since the internet has become a sort of a big, free and easy to access social network in itself, cybercrooks can easily leverage its perks in order to distribute malicious software and all kinds of scams.
Here are some of the best known scams that cybercrooks started to employ years ago, and that, unfortunately are still making victims as we speak; by learning how they work, you’ll be one step ahead of the scammers:
- The '419, Nigeria bank' scam
The number "419" refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud. Everyone who has ever had an email address has received a 419 scam in their inbox, at one time or another.
How does it work? You receive an email asking for your help to transfer some funds. The amounts are hefty and the commission for participating seems too good to be true (because it is!). What’s the catch? Well, in order for the “legal documents” required for the transaction to be processed you need to pay a fee. This is the amount that enters the scammer’s pocket.
The “419, Nigeria bank” scam is one of the most common, and everything seems very legitimate until you realize you’ve been scammed.
- The 'Microsoft Technical assistance' scam
If you are a victim of this type of scam, you will get a call or a Text message (SMS) from someone pretending to be a Microsoft Technician and informing you that your computer is infected and/or damaged. Needless to say, the fake technician offers to solve the problem for you, by connecting to your computer.
Regardless of how serious the message sounds (it is, of course, written in such a way that it will compel you to agree), bear in mind that no real IT company will ever call/email/SMS you about your computer security! The scammers usually pick your phone number from a phone book or find it on the internet (for example, on social networks you’ve listed on), and claim they have it from your internet service provider.
If you are a BullGuard user, remember that our Support team is available 24/7 to help you with any internet security or computer problem you may have, free of charge.
- The 'Guaranteed loan or credit card approval'/ 'Lottery win' / 'Make money fast' scam
Typically, the loan scam goes like this: you receive a message informing you that you were pre-approved for a loan or credit and all you need to do is pay a fee to open the account. In the case of the lottery win, you repeatedly receive a message claiming that you won a lottery draw and you would need to pay a fee for taxes, to be able to collect the reward.
- The 'Disaster relief'/ 'Cancer victims' scam
This type of scam is the worst one, for two reasons – one: people are scammed into paying good money to help a phony charity, and two: typically, people who’ve fallen for fake charities once refuse to offer their help for a real case of charity, because they fear they might get scammed again.
Regardless of the form of gain the scammers advertise, use common sense. When you receive or come across such “too-good-to-be-true” offers/ messages, ask yourself this:
- When did anyone ever come to you to give you money? Every one of us, even the more fortunate ones, need to work for the money in our pockets.
- Did you ever register to a lottery, or to get a loan, or to anything that the advertisement is about?
- Did you agree to have your computer monitored by anyone?
Do not fall for things that are out of the ordinary! Get BullGuard Internet Security 2013 to guard you from such emails scams and other online threats.
Posted by Andreea Luciana Ostache