5 Frequent Online Frauds and Ways to Avoid Them
With more and more people turning to online transactions for shopping, banking, travel, and other activities, online transactions are becoming a way for scammers to take over identities and illegally gain access to online funds and bank accounts.
In 2018 over $800 million was lost to online scammers. Some scams are becoming more popular than others. In 2020, the FBI reported a surge in online shopping scams, with bogus retailers using US addresses, copied websites, and fake photos to lure buyers, only to send them the wrong items while they run off with the money. Read on to know what the most common online scams are and how you can avoid them.
Email scams run the gamut from harmless spam mail to more harmful phishing scams. Phishing scams are emails sent by scammers that look like emails from your bank, your phone provider, or some other service that you use. These are intended to trick you into giving important information like usernames and passwords, account numbers, and PIN codes. Because they look very much like the real thing, it is easy to get fooled.
However, there are some telltale signs that what you are looking at is an email scam. For one, the sender may be different from the address that you regularly receive information from. The tone of the email sounds scammy or fishy. The email may be requesting sensitive information that your bank doesn’t usually ask for.
If you think the email seems strange, don’t open it, don’t answer back, do not click on any links, and report the email. You can also use the Spokeo reverse number lookup and email lookup tool to track the email origin to see if the source is legitimate.
Phone call fraud
Phone call scams basically work like email scams in that they pretend to be someone calling from a legitimate company. These scams will request important information such as bank account numbers, passwords, your address, and other important information. Some calls may threaten you with fines or jail if you don’t do what they ask.
If you think it’s a scam number, don’t answer it. Hang up. Never attempt to call back. Check the caller with Spokeo reverse number lookup to see who the real caller is and where they are located. You could also verify if they claim to call for your bank, internet provider, or any other company that you are familiar with.
Online shopping fraud
Scams extend to retail, where bogus sellers sell fake or non-existent items only to run off with the money leaving buyers high and dry. The best way to avoid these sites is to know how to spot a fake online seller. Prices may be too good to be true, the retail site is new, there are no or very few reviews from real users, and the website is using shady domains like .club or .top. You can also use Spokeo reverse phone lookup or email lookup to see important information about the retailer using phone numbers and emails that you can find on the site.
Catfishing happens when someone pretends to be someone else using a fake social media profile and uses this identity to enter into relationships with unsuspecting people. There are various reasons behind catfishing. Some people may engage in it because they are psychologically troubled or they may be in it for monetary gain. In some cases, these scammers eventually ask for information, gifts, and even money transfers especially once the relationship has been established.
Catfishing can be devastating for the other person, not just financially but emotionally. To avoid this make sure you know who you are talking to, never send money to someone you don’t know in real life, check the profile picture with Google image searches, and always ask to speak in video chats.
Booking and rental online fraud
Booking and rental scams come in different forms, from rental listings that don’t exist to rental applications that don’t exist. Scammers can hijack real ads for rentals and use edited photos with the scammer’s email and phone numbers to lure potential renters in their direction. These scammers then ask for advanced deposits and run off with the money once you find out that the rental doesn’t exist. Signs of a booking or rental scam include asking for deposits in cash before you sign any contract, they are evasive when you ask to see the location, the rates are too cheap to be true and they rush you into making a decision. Always ask to see the property firsthand, check if the websites and phone numbers are legitimate, and look for reviews from previous renters.
Online scams abound and the only weapon against these scams is to use your instinct, common sense, and practical tools like Spokeo reverse phone lookup. Make sure that you are talking to a real person, make sure that the business or company is legitimate, and don’t give out important financial and personal information unless you can vouch for the other party’s legitimacy.
Maguire Haigh is a marketing manager for Spokeo. He is interested in the latest technology trends, marketing strategies, and business development. He also prefers traveling, exploring the world, and meeting new people. Maguire has great experience in creating and editing articles on different topics.