By Rotimi Onadipe
Despite all efforts made by Law Enforcement Agencies and many Anti-fraud Organisations to reduce cybercrime to the barest minimum, research revealed that cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their illegal activities, they are developing new fraud schemes every day with changes in technologies.
However, the greatest weapon of all current and intending users of the internet against cybercriminals is “knowledge” about the most common online scams and how to avoid them.
Here are some of the most common online scams and how to avoid them and reduce your vulnerability.
- Phishing scam: This is when an online fraudster impersonates a reputable individual or organization in order to obtain money, sensitive or personal information of unsuspecting victims. In order to avoid this, make sure you investigate thoroughly before you respond to any email, text message or phone call.
- Beneficiary Scam: In a beneficiary scam, a fraudster calls or sends a message to an unsuspecting victim to notify him that he should help him to receive huge sums of money or parcel containing expensive goods with a promise of a certain percentage of money to the unsuspecting victim. The fraudster will later demand for money to facilitate the release of the funds or parcel. When you receive such email, text message or phone call, ignore it immediately.
- Job offer scam: The scammers will send out emails and adverts of job vacancies with attractive salaries and other fringe benefits. They will request applications from different parts of the world through many social media platforms. They will ask for the details of the applicants which they may eventually use to create fake profiles of the unsuspecting victims. They will later ask for money for processing the application or to facilitate the interview. There are many job vacancies on the internet but the only way to differentiate the real ones from the fake is to do a thorough investigation.
- Lottery scam: The scammer will contact the unsuspecting victim through a phone call, email or text message that he won a lottery. He will ask for the personal information of the unsuspecting victim for verification purposes but the main purpose of the scammer is to obtain the victim’s personal information for fraudulent activities. He will later demand some money before the lottery can be claimed. Lottery organisations don’t demand any fee before the winner can claim any money. When you are asked to pay a certain amount, be suspicious.
- Loan scam: Fraudsters send out emails as if they are financial institutions or Non-Governmental Organisations giving out non-interest loans to help unemployed citizens. They will later demand for details of interested people and processing fees. To avoid this, do thorough research about any organisation that contacts you for a loan application. Most importantly, visit their offices to ask sensitive questions about them.
Don’t be a victim of cybercrime, be cybercrime aware, stay vigilant.