Written: 6th March 2023 – 5 min read
“Online scams and a guide to avoid them” article come to life because we read horror stories from our readers who shared their experiences with us.
People wrote how they have been scammed online. So better if Readers who never been scammed read about them. In that way they may be able to avoid bad experiences by not doing the same mistakes as others did.
Examples of scamming
Here is a guide how to avoid online scams. You can see some examples too how people have been scammed:
These are attempts to trick you into providing personal information or login credentials.
Scammers often send emails that appear to be from legitimate companies, such as banks or online retailers.
They are usually asking you to
- click on a link or
- enter your login credentials.
If you do, the scammers can steal your information or use it to commit fraud.
in 2014, hackers sent out phishing emails that looked like they were from Apple, asking users to verify their account information. Many people fell for the scam and had their accounts compromised.
in the recent years, hackers usually send phising emails that look like they are coming from Instagram, asking users to verify their account information the same way as they did in the above written example with Apple.
Free trials scams
Some companies offer free trials of their products or services, but then charge you a fee after the trial period ends.
In some cases, it can be difficult to cancel the subscription. Even after cancellation you may continue to be charged.
in 2018, a popular workout app called Peloton was accused of misleading customers with its free trial offer. Many customers complained that the app charged even after canceling the trial.
These are attempts to trick you into investing in a fraudulent company or scheme.
Scammers may promise high returns on your investment. They claim that the investment is guaranteed.
In reality, the investment may be completely fake or worthless.
in 2015, the SEC charged two men with running a $32 million Ponzi scheme that promised high returns from oil and gas investments. Many investors lost their life savings in the scheme.
This happening in the recent years a lot with cryptocurrency scams and crypto mining.
In 2023, authorities arrested 29 people, including 13 foreign citizens, in connection with the fraudulent platform known as “HoggPool.”
The online cryptocurrency scam happened in Egypt where 1000s of investors have defrauded of around $620,000, reported by Al Jazeera. The scheme first appeared in Egypt, promising investors large profits from crypto mining and trading.
Tech Support Scams
These are attempts to trick you into paying for fake tech support services.
Scammers may call or send pop-up messages claiming that your computer has a virus or other problem. They may then ask you to pay for their services to fix the problem, but in reality, they are just stealing your money.
in 2019, Microsoft warned users of a new tech support scam that was spreading through pop-up messages on its Edge browser.
The messages claimed that the user’s computer was infected with a virus and provided a fake phone number to call for help.
Work from home scams
These are attempts to trick you into paying for a job that doesn’t exist or that pays very little.
Scammers may advertise jobs that require little effort or skill, but then ask you to pay for training or equipment.
In reality, the job may not exist, or you may be paid very little for your work.
in 2020, scammers targeted people who had lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic with work from home scams that promised easy money. Many people fell for the scams and lost money that they couldn’t afford to lose.
To avoid getting scammed online it’s important to stay informed about the latest scams. Next to this be cautious when giving out personal information or paying money.
Remember that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Always do your research before giving out any information or money, and be skeptical of unsolicited emails or calls, not to be the victims of online scams.
Research about a company or a job
If you are looking for a job and want to verify if a job or a company is real or not, then here are some steps you can take to do your research:
Check the company’s website
Visit the website and look for information about the job opening.
If the job is listed on the company’s website, it’s a good sign that it’s a real job.
If the job is not listed on the website, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a scam, but it’s a red flag.
Research the company
Look up the company online and read reviews and news articles to get an idea of its reputation.
If the company has a good reputation and well-established, it’s more likely that the job is legitimate.
Look for it.
A real job posting should include contact information, such as an email address or phone number. Try to call it.
If the posting only provides a generic email address, like Gmail or Yahoo, it could be a sign that it’s a scam.
Don’t pay money
If a job posting asks you to pay money for training or equipment, it’s likely a scam. Legitimate employers should not ask you to pay for anything upfront.
If you’re not sure about a job posting, reach out to the employer and ask questions.
A legitimate employer should be willing to answer your questions and provide more information about the job.
Use job search websites
Use reputable job search websites, such as LinkedIn, Indeed, or Glassdoor, to find job postings.
These websites typically have measures in place to prevent scams and fake job postings.
Trust your instincts
If something about a job posting seems too good to be true or makes you uncomfortable, it’s probably a scam.
Trust your instincts and be cautious.
By doing your research and taking these steps, you can better protect yourself from job scams and find legitimate job opportunities.
Raise awareness against online scams
Online scams cause a great deal of harm to individuals and organizations, including financial loss and identity theft.
Here you can see some steps to take to raise awareness against scams:
- Education: you need to understand the different types of scams that exist and how they work. This will help you recognize them and know what steps to take to protect yourself.
- Spread the word: talk to your friends, family, and colleagues about online scams and how to avoid them. Share your knowledge on social media platforms and other online forums.
- Use trusted sources: for information and to be cautious of unsolicited emails and messages.
- Be vigilant: to verify the identity of anyone they are dealing with online.
- Security tools: such as antivirus software and firewalls, to protect devices from malware and other online threats.
- Stay up-to-date: keep up-to-date with the latest scams and security threats, and share with others.
Learn how to avoid to be scammed
- Verify the source: before clicking on any links or downloading attachments, verify the source of the email or message. Check the sender’s email address or phone number, and make sure it is legitimate.
- Look for red flags: be wary of emails or messages that contain urgent requests for personal information, offer unsolicited job opportunities, or ask for money or gift cards.
- Use trusted sources: for information and transactions, such as well-known and reputable websites for online shopping and banking. Always check whether the url is original or only look like the original.
- Check for secure connections: look for the lock symbol 🔒 in the address bar and the “https” in the URL before entering any sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card numbers, or social security numbers.
- Be cautious of public Wi-Fi: avoid accessing sensitive information on public Wi-Fi networks, such as those in coffee shops, airports, or hotels, as these networks are often unsecured.
- Use two-factor authentication: whenever possible to add an extra layer of security to your online accounts.
- Keep software and devices up-to-date: install security updates and patches for your software and devices as soon as they become available to help protect against vulnerabilities that scammers can exploit.
- Report scams: if you suspect that you have fallen victim to an online scam or have received a suspicious email or message, report it to the appropriate authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or your local law enforcement agency.
To learn more about online scams and behaviour of scammers please read our previous articles here.