The most common ways online scammers steal money
Cybercrime continues to remain an attractive business for fraudsters since the inception of the internet. In spite of advancements in the field of security, criminals and hackers manage to get away with their crimes. This makes it all the more important to get knowledgeable about the ways employed to steal money, to prevent any threats well, before they turn into a problem.
This is one of the most prevalent and oldest scams. Phishing means a crooked endeavour to procure sensitive data or information, like usernames, card details, passwords or other such sensitive details, by posing as an established legitimate entity or institution to persuade individuals. Sometimes emails used for this purpose may look legit. These disguised emails and messages are the prime weapon for committing such frauds by trying to get the victim to hand over sensitive information to breach the system or account, or download malware to infect their devices.
Spear phishing is a targeted online scam towards individuals or smaller groups who have access to classified data and information or transferrable funds. Spear-phishing makes use of emails that appear to have come from a well-known or identifiable source of the target, such as a business associate or co-worker.
Whaling is a type of spear-phishing attack specifically targeted towards senior executives.
Smishing, also known as SMS phishing, is an online scam where fraud is committed via the medium of a text message with the aim of luring victims into disclosing sensitive information, installation of malware and spyware or clicking on suspicious links and attachments. Messages generally have some element of urgency, warning or threat in order to convince the recipient into taking immediate action.
The word ‘vishing’ is a union of ‘voice’ and ‘phishing.’ The tools used for this purpose are internet telephone service (VoIP) and caller ID spoofing instead of emails. In this mode of cybercrime, calls and voice messages claiming to originate from reputable entities are used to execute the online scam.
4. Juice Jacking
The power or data cable in public stations used for charging our devices, provides forbidden access or can infect your device with malware in the course of the process. This kind of cybercrime originating from USB charging ports positioned at public areas such as cafes, bus stands, airports etc, is called Juice Jacking. The attack can range from a simple extraction of all contact details or private pictures to a severe invasive attack by direct injection of malicious code in the device which enables, the criminals to copy all the passwords and financial data.
These kinds of frauds usually use tools like WhatsApp or SMS to offer cashbacks and rewards on online transactions and shopping. These are usually attempts to get the people to share their online banking and financial details. In this, criminals claim to represent a well-known e-commerce platform and offer cashback or refund on a recent transaction. They attempt to trap the online scam victim by making false promises and acquiring his/her credit/debit card or banking details.
6. KYC check
This scam is characterised by a call from a cyber criminal claiming to be a customer service officer from your bank or KYC executive. The callers aim to worry the targets by implying that their card, bank or wallet account would get blocked or revoked. The sole aim is to get the victim to download remote access apps.
7. SIM upgrade/exchange
Also known as SIM swap fraud, this is essentially registering a brand new SIM with the already existing phone number in order to get the bank one time password. This is a relatively old fraudulent method used by cyber criminals to lure gullible victims who lose money in a few minutes. SIM swap or simply SIM card exchange is basically registering a new SIM card with your phone number. Once the new SIM card is registered, the old card becomes invalid and the phone stops receiving signal. The new SIM card would receive all the OTP and notification messages. With this, bank transfers can be initiated and facilitated by the fraudsters.
8. Nigerian scam
This is also popularly known as 419 fraud or advance fee fraud. A help in facilitation of money transfer, generally by the medium of an email. An attractive commission is offered according to their perceived gullibility. An amount of money is requested to be sent to cover costs which facilitate the transfer. The criminals might either disappear instantly or try to loot more money by making claims of additional problems related to the transfer.
Since some of the scams are so convincing and well organized, it is in our best interest to keep our guard up at all times.
- Never provide any kind of personal information to anyone on the phone/unrecognized e-mail ids/links
- Listen carefully and be attentive while responding
- Don’t download or click unsolicited links/attachments
- Use multi-factor authentication and strong passwords
- Be vigilant and skeptical
To know how to handle such scammers watch these videos.