Broadly speaking, a scam is any scheme intended to defraud or steal from the victim. It can happen to anyone, not just older generations. Not even the most tech-savvy among us are above falling victim to these sly methods, so it’s important for everyone to always stay alert and practice caution. There are various means of carrying out scams such as phone calls, websites, letters, or even emails. Scams are getting even harder to spot as time goes by, so we’re here to help by offering some advice. Below are some of the most common types of scams out there and what you can do to keep yourself safe.
Common Scam Types
The first step in staying safe is to be prepared and know what to look out for. In today’s digital age, scams can take on all kinds of forms. We’ll take a look at a few of the most common ones below.
- Accommodation Scams—In this common scam type, an individual or group poses as a company selling or renting an apartment or house. One receives a request to deposit money into an account, with the scammers vanishing right after completing the transaction.
- Antivirus Scams—This is where you receive a notification or call informing you of a computer virus or malware. Then the scammer claims that they can repair the computer by installing their software. The software allows them access to your files containing passwords and other data they may use directly or make you pay them to retrieve that data.
- Charity Scams—These occur when victims send money to scammers while thinking they are donating to charity.
- Classified Scams—These have cons artists pose as sellers on online stores, who make you pay for goods that do not exist.
- Free Trial Scams—In this favorite for online scammers, a product is advertised at a low price or for free. After signing up, one has to pay for a pretty expensive subscription service that is hard to unsubscribe.
- Catfishing—Some scammers also use romance as a means by getting into dating sites and convincing an online ‘lover’ to help them out by sending money or gift cards to them. They gain personal details and end up stealing from them.
How to avoid scams
While these scams can take on a wide variety of forms, they all rely on their victims to make similar mistakes. By practicing a handful of good habits, you can spot most scams and avoid them before it’s too late.
- Avoid Clicking, downloading, or replying to messages whose origins you do not know. Most victims of scams tend to click on sites and links that redirect them to the scammer’s website and reveal their data.
- Invest in reliable antivirus software. With hackers being able to access your data remotely, one would be better off investing in reliable software to protect them from malware attacks. While even the best antivirus software is no substitute for vigilance and good digital hygiene, it’s an important line of defense for business and personal devices alike.
- Cancel all forms of communication with romance scammers. Trust your gut and cut off all contact if you feel the person on the other side is not genuine. Do not send money to anyone you meet online, especially if you have never met them physically.
- Report all cases where you have been or were close to being scammed. The more data law enforcement agencies have, the easier it is to catch and apprehend these online scammers.
Different scams come up every day, so one must stay vigilant and pay attention to any information you read, especially online. It may save you a world of trouble and keep your money in your wallet. It’s better to browse slow and skeptical but safe and happy.