Online Scams That Target Your Pocketbook

The worldwide web has proven to be the perfect playground for scammers. As recently as a couple decades ago, flimflammers would need to sink considerable time, money and legwork into successfully carrying out their schemes. However, in the digital age, these individuals can make contact with countless marks without even setting foot outside. While it’s true that senior citizens and people unacquainted with modern technology tend to be the ones who fall prey to online scams, they are by no means the only victims. Even people who appear tech-savvy and street smart are scammed on a consistent basis. With this in mind, anyone interested in maintaining their online safety would be wise to steer clear of the following scams.  

Direct Threats

Scammers sometimes abandon any pretense of cleverness, opting instead for direct threats. This entails sending emails to random marks that demand money in exchange for their wellbeing. Common threats include physical harm against the target or their loved ones, vandalizing the target’s home or property, and ruining the target’s reputation. Receiving an email that contains a direct threat is liable to leave anyone shaken, especially people who have never encountered this type of scam. If a scammer finds that they’re able to extort a target through threats, they’re likely to continue to threatening the same person and treat him or her as a consistent source of income.

Device Hijacking

Online scams and malware have a long, sordid history together. Wherever you find one, you’re likely to find the other. Device hijacking is one of the oldest and most effective malware-based scams currently plaguing internet users. This occurs when a piece of malware known as ransomware is installed on a computer or internet-enabled device. True to its name, this malicious software essentially holds devices hostage until certain demands are met. Devices that are infected with ransomware often have their internet access restricted, thereby prohibiting them from opening pages that the software doesn’t want people to see. Victims will also be greeted by web pages and pop-up messages insisting that they purchase fraudulent anti-virus software in order to regain control of their devices. In addition to email links, ransomware can also be spread through vulnerable websites, thus facilitating the need for site owners to invest in dependable security solutions. Site owners can learn about cloud-based options by checking out some SiteLock reviews.

Fake Infections

With viruses and malware running rampant, no one can be blamed for wanting to stay safe online. Some scammers wish to capitalize on this by preying on people’s legitimate concerns. The fake infection scam involves clicking on links that offer free virus and/or malware scans. Once this scan has been carried out, an infection will invariably be found. However, for a fee, a cyber security company will remotely clean your device, thereby eliminating any threats. Needless to say, granting these people remote access to your devices won’t end well. In addition to having sensitive data stolen, you’re likely to wind up with a smattering of spyware.

Fraudulent Charities

In the aftermath of an enormous natural disaster, thousands of people donate food, time and money to a wide range of legitimate charities. Wishing to take advantage of this, scammers frequently send out emails in which they purport to be collecting money for the victims of recent hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. In many cases, the charities these crooks claim to be representing are fake, and unlike legitimate charities, they aren’t interested in any donations that aren’t purely monetary. If you’re interested in giving but have reservations about a particular organization, request its Employer Identification Number (EIN) number and check it against the list of legitimate tax-exempt organizations compiled by the IRS.

Scammers are thriving more than ever in the digital age. Rather than shy away from emerging technology, dedicated hucksters have chosen to embrace it. Thanks to the anonymity of the web, these individuals are able to perpetrate a multitude of misdeeds without ever facing any consequences. Through preying on victims’ fears, weaknesses and vulnerabilities, online scammers are able to line their coffers and destroy lives with wild abandon. To ensure that you never fall victim to a scammer’s machinations, take care to stay current with the latest online threats and exercise common sense at every available opportunity.'