Internet scams have been around as long as the internet has been around. There is a huge list of internet scams that fool thousands of citizens every year. The types of scams online have been around since the time internet speed had trouble opening a simple image. Even back then scammers used to try their best to steal either money or information by tricking people one way or another. The top internet scams included tricking relatives into thinking an emergency has happened, steal social security numbers, or fraudulent calls. The common online scams 2020 have increased due to a lot of people staying at homes.
All the scams we have mentioned above still exist, but over time scammers have been getting smarter. There is a complete list of internet scams and some strong new contenders are competing for their place on the list. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, you need to be aware of these scams. You should also have knowledge for a “scam victim what to do”. In this article, you will learn about top online scams 2020 and what to do if you fall prey to a scam?
Types Of Internet Scams Online
Every day authorities are trying their best to put a stop to online scams but the first step is for you to be more aware of these scams. Here’s a list of online scams you should be on the lookout for.
1. Phishing Scams
As long as the internet has been available for public use, phishing scams existed. Even before the generalization of the internet, there were all sorts of phishing scams available. Scammers used to use phones to trick people. Even today, millions of phishing emails are sent to trick people. The good thing is that the scam folders in emails and message filters keep most of those scam texts away from people. Regardless of that, a lot of people fall prey to phishing scams every year. It is one of the most common online scams 2020. To save yourself from getting tricked you need to learn about phishing scams. Scams can come in the following types:
- Your boss or someone who’s impersonating your boss needs access to some classified information or some password to an account. They will always need the password/information right away. They may even ask you to send some gift cards to some address or some email address. Go to your boss and ask him in person before doing anything.
- Another phishing scam includes your family member who needs the password to your shared Netflix or streaming service. Funnily enough, your family members will decide to email you instead of a text and call.
- You will get an email from Facebook stating that your account has been compromised/attacked and you’ve been automatically logged off. The mail will include a link which is for you to log in to your account “Securely”. Keep an eye out for changes in the brand name or spelling mistakes.
- One of the most common types of internet scams online is that someone is threatening a lawsuit against you. The reason for the lawsuit will always be vague, the only way to save yourself from the legal action is to provide them with some personal information or pay them money for the “next step.”
These are just a few examples of thousands of Phishing scams that are played online every day. The most important thing for you to do is to understand the general pattern. To keep yourself safe from phishing scams, do this:
- Never provide passwords over email or text messages. If someone you know is asking for the information, call them or ask them in person to confirm whether they are the one who actually asked for the login details.
- Looking at the details of the emails will always help you figure out whether the mail you’ve received is genuine or fake.
- Use two-factor authentication for all your login accounts. So you can know whenever you receive an OTP without you logging into your account.
- Keep in mind that tech support agents don’t require your passwords to fix your troubles. Tech support agents do require some sort of verification to confirm they are talking to the right person but they never ask for login details.
2. Charity Based Scams
The year 2020 has been full of one tragedy after another. Millions of people all across the globe are supporting others by donating to charities that are out to help. Although this outpour of support has open a whole new market for scammers. Scammers have started to set up fake charities to take advantage of people’s empathy.
A charity scam looks like any other scam or funding page except the money you donate won’t be going towards any welfare. There is no clear cut way of differentiating between scams and genuine charities, but any organization that has an official address and contact person is much more reliable than any other organization. Charity scams also come in all shapes and sizes. Recently they have become one of the top online scams 2020. To keep yourself protected, do this:
- Research about the organization that is asking you to donate money. This will help you minimize the risk of getting scammed plus you will be able to learn more about the issue the charity is trying to help with.
- Avoid donating directly to one person unless you are completely sure about the person you are donating the money to. Donating to an organization minimizes the risk of getting scammed.
- Links that are posted on social media channels or online forums are often fake. Take your time and do your own research about the organization you are about to donate to. Do remember that scam websites don’t often pop up on the first page of Google search results.
3. Investment Scams
Investment based scams are one of the most well-known types of scams online. Even though they are well known, it doesn’t mean that people don’t fall prey to them regularly. In these kinds of scams, you will see an advertisement about a way to make quick money online. Some of these advertisements will look genuine while others will be easy to weed out. All of these scams follow the same policy. Take your money and vanish forever. To keep your money safe from investment scams, follow the methods listed below.
- Make a personal rule to never provide your financial information or give money to anyone. Make an exception only when you know the person/organization personally. Look for the reviews available online about the organization you are looking to invest in. If it is a genuine organization then you’ll find a lot of information about it online.
- One of the easiest ways to check about a particular organization is to check about them on “Broker Check” by FINRA. If the organization isn’t available there, then you should refrain from spending your hard-earned money on them.
- If someone is rushing to make you an investment decision or giving you a deadline for a particular investment opportunity then it is most probably a bad deal.
4. Payment App Scams
Our list of online scams can’t be complete without payment app scams. This is a new department in the field of online scams and that’s the reason tons of people are getting scammed by them. According to surveys, there has been a recent uprise in the number of people using Venmo, Zelle, and CashApp. Users, not more than often receive a notification regarding the payment app they are using. The text or email will state there is some technical issue with your account. To fix this, you need to transfer some money as a trial or to provide some information.
Pay attention to the details on the brand name or URL of the email that you’ve received. It is a common tactic by scammers to use the same URL with slight changes to trick people into believing they are the official brand. To save yourself from these kinds of scams, do this:
- Don’t believe in any text or notification you get from any platform that comes out of the blue.
- Do some research and understand how official messages look like. Once you learn how to identify between official and fake notifications, you’ll reduce your chances of getting scammed.
- As payment app scams are increasing, new methods will be tried out by the scammers. As a rule of thumb, be suspicious and wait for a bit after you receive any notification.
- Try using your credit cards on payment apps instead of a master card. It is easier to reverse a fraudulent charge from a credit card. Plus the companies are always happy to help you through the crisis.
The Scam Victim What To Do Guide
With so many scams out there, it is tough to keep yourself safe. Chances are that you will fall prey to scam at least once in your life. If that does happen, do not panic, chances are you will be able to save yourself from future harm. If you think that you have fallen victim to an online scam, follow the methods listed below:
- Act Quickly: Waiting, or sleeping on it to clear your thoughts will only make things worse. Be calm and act swiftly as it will help save your assets and identity in the long run.
- Start Protecting Your Assets: As soon as you realize what has happened, put a freeze on your credit cards, general credit, and accounts as much as possible. Change all your passwords and security questions if you think the problem can go worse. You wouldn’t want everything getting out of your hand.
- Inform Everyone: You may not like this step but it is important to follow through with this one. Contact those who are close to you and inform them about the scam. Scammers often try to use your information to scam more people that you know.
- Look For Additional Help: Being aware of the kind of scam you’ve fallen prey to may make all the difference. Go online and read about it, chances are you will run into someone who faced the same problem as you. You may even find out the ideal method to secure yourself from further damage.
- Contact the Authorities: The first thing you should do is contact the ideal authorities about your situation. They have a vested interest in minimizing the times the same scam happens.