You might wonder who are the people that fall prey to online scams? Well, they are those who are desperately looking for making money online, those who are forced into believing that their loved ones are kidnapped and are under hostage, those who want to renew or verify their documents online in response to a text which says so. According to CNBC, 70 million Americans have been duped through online scams, let alone the world.
As the days are passing by, scammers are finding new and intelligent ways to trap you in their web. From online shopping frauds to One Time Password (OTP) frauds, there are scammers awaiting your response at every corner. You need to know the various types of scams and the best ways to mess with scammers, if you don’t want to fall victim to any.
There’s a dire need to watch out for the scammers
With the increasing number of cases of online fraud, you need to be more vigilant when it comes to virtual transactions. People who don’t have a proper understanding of it, are the ones who are vulnerable to such online attacks. With the higher authorities playing their role by blocking such fraudulent activities, it is your duty as well to report such fraudsters, which in turn will save the earnings of many from going into the wrong hands.
Ignoring the suspicious text messages, and refraining from entering passwords, bank details or other sensitive information are a few best ways to mess with the scammers that are gonna help you stay away from their malice.
The various types of scams and ways to deal with them
You might have read in newspapers or elsewhere how people are being cheated in the name of providing them a job, winning a lottery and what not. Below is a list of such evil scams that you must be aware of:
Online Shopping Scams
Your browser or YouTube might pop up with ads from websites that aren’t legit. They entice you into purchasing items from their website by offering you the products at a very cheap rate. Many people have ended up making a payment for the product, but never had the product delivered. Or some of them have received rubbish, but not the actual product.
You can report this website on Google by going to safebrowsing.com and entering the URL of that website. In no time the website will be blocked. In case you’re using Google Chrome, you can install Google safe browsing chrome extension.
This is the most wicked kind of fraud. Here, the scammer gathers information about you and your family. Needless to say, there’s someone doing this work for them. They dial you spoofing their number with the number of any of your beloved ones and then tell you that they’ve kidnapped your family member and their phone is with them, and in order to release them, you need to pay a hefty sum.
Now, how do you know that this is a scam? They ask you not to hang up, because if you do so and call them later, the call will connect to the family person and you’ll get to know that it was a scam. But if you fear that this might be true, then just send them a text and ask them to read what you’ve written, obviously they won’t be able to read it. Scam Busted!
Fake Work-From-Home Jobs
Students who want to earn part-time income, or people who are looking for passive income opportunities are more prone to such scams. When you login to such job providing websites, the first thing they ask you is registration fee. The moment they ask for any registration fee, you should realise that it’s a fake platform, because no company would hire you by asking you to pay some fee.
(You can also report this website in the way that I’ve mentioned in point 1)
Hoorah! You’ve won a lottery scam
I think this is the most common type of scam. While playing a game, a notification pops up that you’ve won a lottery, or you receive a text message that you’ve won a million dollar lottery. The best way to mess with scammer, is to ignore it and block and report the number, because if you reply to them, they will fill your number or email with all such junk stuff.
Number Spoofing Scam
Almost everyone gets a call where the person at the other end informs you that your number needs to be verified, or your operating system has to be renewed, or your bank account will be blocked if you don’t take action within a few minutes. These scammers disguise their original number with a local one and speak to you eloquently to sound professional. They ask you for your passwords, bank details, and other such sensitive information to gain access to your device or accounts. Note that such sensitive data should not be shared over the phone, not even with the bank representative.
People try to mess with scammers, by pranking them. But it is better not to do so, since they can even hack your device, which did happen to me. Phone companies are trying their best to improve the security over your phone and warn you against such calls by displaying “suspected scam” on your screen, when you receive such a call. You can also install applications which alert you when receiving such calls. True Caller helps you know the identity of the fraudster, but he might also be using a fake ID.
Phishing is when an attacker sends you a link and asks you to enter sensitive information. Or sometimes, when you click the URL, it can install a virus or malware in your device.
The best way to mess with such an attack by scammer is to install an anti-phishing or anti-spam software which detects such attackers and safeguards the data in your device from being stolen and never click on any link sent by unknown persons or in groups.
These types of scammers create fake profiles on online dating apps. They lure you into getting a romantic virtual relationship with them. After they’ve gained your trust, they start asking you for gift cards, money and other bank details. In case you’ve shared anything with them, report their account and inform your bank about the transfer made to the scammer.
You can identify one, if they move out of that platform and stay in contact with you on some other social media app. This is so because the dating app may suspend their account when they keep on forwarding the same message to many.
QR Code Scam
When you scan the QR code, you might end up losing money, instead of receiving. Never scan any QR code when you are the receiver of the money. Check the code, to know that there’s no sticker placed above it. Check online for the company or person, to find out whether it actually exists or not. Beware when scanning any codes in public places.
One Time Password (OTP) Scams
This scam is on the rise these days. Here, the scammer calls you or texts you pretending to be from a government department. They tell you that your number needs to be verified, which in turn requires you to enter the OTP or code which they’ve sent you. And now, they’ve gained access to your bank account and you are exposed to the threat of losing all your finances in your account.
Don’t respond to such unknown numbers or emails, since they leave no stone unturned to sound professional.
Best Ways to Mess with a Scammer
Spam Call Blockers
People are usually complaining that they receive more spam calls than normal calls from work or family. It is difficult to differentiate between a real and a fake call due to the amount of professionalism the spammers display. Hence, you need a spam call blocker which can detect the spam calls via their technology. Robokiller is an app that messes with the scammers and blocks spam messages in addition to spam calls . It answers the spam calls and messages with humorous responses and secures your phone against 99% of those frauds. You can subscribe for a monthly or annual package, or sign in for a free 7 day trial. This app works on Android as well as IOS devices.
Safe Browsing Extension
Certain websites might be dangerous to open, or while browsing you might be stalked by someone. To avoid the tracking of your device by ad agencies or the like, there are many safe browsing apps that alert you when there’s something fishy with the website you are about to open and blocks trackers and keeps your browsing safe. One such app is the Google Safe Browsing which lets you browse without any risk of your data being stolen. It can be used by going to ‘Settings’ in Chrome > Privacy and Security > Safe Browsing. It provides you additional protection in all the Google apps such as Gmail, Chrome, Google. I personally use DuckDuckGo which guards over and respects your privacy while you’re browsing.
Accidentally clicked on some link? This might give access to some virus into your device. But no worries, when you have an anti-virus in your device. It safeguards your device from unauthorised use of data and protects it from dodgy websites. The Avast Mobile Security acts like a shield to your device from unwanted malware and improves the privacy of your phone and is an award-winning anti-virus app.
Social Media Protection
If you find any wary person contacting you on social media, the best way to mess with scammer is to immediately block and report the person. In case of Facebook and Instagram you can select the user’s profile and select “… ” icon > Report. Whereas, for Twitter, click on the “Gear icon” > Report, and for Snapchat, click on the “Gear icon” > Support > Report.
Using the in-built features
If you’re not willing to invest in any third party apps, then you can utilise the features that your SIM card company provides you. You have to download the app of the SIM that you use. Go to the DND (Do Not Disturb) option and select “block spam and promotional calls and messages.” And for those who use Gmail, you have to unsubscribe to all unknown spam and promotional mails and then archive or delete them.
Online frauds have become widespread with the vast use of internet. Scammers make approximately $50,000 per annum in the United States alone at the cost of the trust and earnings of innocent people. There are many agencies which perform such acts and very cunningly rob you of your finances. As soon as you feel suspicious about the person, block and report the swindler. Be well-acquainted with the best ways to mess with scammers and proceed cautiously whenever you’re working online.