Online scams are now taking over the internet. Although the Internet has simplified many aspects of life over the years, including shopping, banking, investing, entertainment, and many others. And we appear to have kept up with this change admirably. However, the criminals did as well. Harassing, duping, and defrauding someone in real life is a relic of the past. Most crimes, now known as cybercrimes, now take place on the internet.
Phishing/Spoofing Online Scams
Phishing, pronounced and meant in the same way as the English word “fishing,” is a method of obtaining sensitive information from people online. Phishing sites use illegal tactics such as mimicking a website’s look and feel to deceive users and avoid detection. A phishing website impersonates a legitimate institution or entity in order to trick people into disclosing sensitive information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, personal information, and so on.
This data is then sold on the black market for a high price. Furthermore, according to research, the majority of phishing attempts are carried out via email. So, if you received a credible-looking email urging you to act quickly, there is a good chance that this email will redirect you to a malicious phishing website.
Investment Fraud Online Scams
The internet’s popularity can be attributed to its ubiquitous nature and low cost. To top it all off, the web’s convenience is what makes it so appealing. Without a doubt, investors were drawn to look for investments online. Fraudsters were quick to follow investors when they moved to the internet. They did everything they could to entice the investors. They tried everything, from tall and false promises about potential returns to added benefits for bringing in more clients.
These con artists either flee with the money or keep changing the terms of the returns.
Malware attacks are another common type of online fraud. Malware is an abbreviation for malicious software, which are files or programs that can be harmful to a computer or a website. These attacks are quite brutal, and in most cases, they can result in significant loss of business and reputation for webmasters.
Credit Card Fraud
Recently, there have been numerous reports of credit card fraud. One method used by hackers is to replace an original form with a phishing form, which collects the customer’s credit card information and sells it on the black market. Other times, the payment method is tampered with. As a result, the customer’s payment does not reach the seller but is credited to the hacker due to the manipulation in the middle. This can be a real pain in the neck for e-commerce. Normally, this type of hack does not go unnoticed because the seller is unaware unless someone reports a forgery to him.
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Fraudulent billing is a type of fraud in which bad actors make up false reasons to charge you money. These reasons may appear valid because they are highly targeted to customers with relevant needs, choices, and so on. People who own vehicles, for example, might receive license renewal requests. They may even request personal information and financial documents from the victim, which will be used to commit identity theft.
Theft of Identity
People are not afraid to share their personal information online. All of this information, from small and personal details like birthdays, anniversaries, and addresses to larger identifiable details like a driver’s license, voter’s card, citizen identity number, and so on, can be used maliciously.
How to Stay Safe Online
If you are not vigilant, the internet can be a cruel place. That being said, here are some of the best practices to employ for a safer online experience that keeps you safe from scams and their illicit methods.
Be more private on the internet.
Sharing every detail about yourself and your life may not be the best option, because bad actors can use that information to their advantage. Maintain stricter privacy settings for your social media accounts. In any case, being a mystery is preferable to being an open book.
Change your passwords frequently.
Bad bots and crawlers lurk in the online world. These malicious bots attempt to circumvent the security of your website/account. In the world of cybersecurity, this is known as brute force. A strong password is made up of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, symbols, and so on. However, if your passwords have been compromised, you should change them on a regular basis.
Regularly update software and websites.
Many people overlook this simple task, but simply updating your website to the most recent versions can reduce the likelihood that it will be compromised. Furthermore, updates are simply repaired and patched versions of the discovered vulnerabilities. As a result, using an outdated version of a website/plugin/theme/software with a publicly known vulnerability may put your website at risk of being exploited. Always provide timely updates.
Unsolicited emails/messages should be avoided.
Messages and emails from unknown and unverified senders abound on the internet. Please take the information in these unsolicited emails with a grain of salt. They are rarely true and legitimate.
Purchase a security solution.
If you own a website, it is recommended that you strengthen its security with a premium security solution. A strong firewall, such as Astra’s web application firewall, provides continuous and comprehensive protection for your website, bringing you one step closer to security. Astra firewall protects your website from SQL injection, bots, XSS, CSRF, OWASP Top 10, and 100+ other emerging threats. It monitors your website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and has an easy-to-use dashboard.
The internet is clearly intertwined in our daily lives. To be honest, we can’t live without it, so turning it off entirely isn’t an option. Instead, we must be smarter than the con artists. Be aware of their strategies and work to create more secure cyberspace.