5 Online Scams Everyone Should Be Aware Of
Sometimes we tend not to even think about how much personal information we put out about ourselves online. If you were to do a search of your name, you’d see social media profiles, job information, and even things like your address and phone number. You can also easily find the names of your relatives by searching online in a matter of minutes.
This all can leave us vulnerable to scams. Social media, in particular, can be risky regarding cons and risks to your identity. It’s essential to regularly check out your identity, credit report, and other relevant information. You can find red flags that your identity has been compromised by searching on your own and monitoring your information.
You also must be vigilant about particular scams that may be trending at any given time. Here is the Top 5 online scams right now, from social media scraping to Amazon related schemes.
1. Social Media Scraping
If you are someone who tends to overshare on social media, you are exposing yourself to bad actors. A scammer can scrape social media sites to look for personal information. Information you might have displayed front and center on your social media profiles can be valuable to them. This information can include your birthdate, full name, photos, location, workplace, history, and marital status. How is this critical?
Scammers use the information they scrape to access financial accounts or get credit cards or loans in their name. The best way to protect against this is to post as little information on social media. Do not post photos that show your address or personal information.
The COVID-19 vaccines were a big issue regarding social media scraping when they were introduced. Many people posted photos of their vaccine cards, while hackers used the information to steal people’s identities. The vaguer you are on social media, the more protected you are likely to be.
2. Compromised Account Notification
Phishing is not new, but somehow it remains just as effective as ever. If not more so, because of how sophisticated the strategies have become. Phishing scams often involve fake emails, but social media can also be used to phish.
In a phishing email, you’ll have to get a link and wording that could encourage you to follow it on a social media site. Then, if you click the link, you’re led to a spoofed site.
The email might say you have compromised accounts and need to change your passwords, or it could ask you to validate login information. An increasingly common trend is sending an email link to reset your social media accounts, saying they’ve been disabled for security purposes.
Regardless of how it’s carried out, the goal is to get someone to provide confidential information to cybercriminals. If you fall for these scams on social media or otherwise, cybercriminals will have the information required to create problems in your life.
They could take over your social media account, allowing them to scam your friends and connections. They might pretend to be you, and they could access your bank account.
As was mentioned, phishing scams aren’t limited to email. Facebook Messenger and Instagram messages are growing ways for scammers to send out these links.
3. Fake Job Offers
We’re going through unprecedented tough times. It can be hard to turn down an appealing and often high-paying job, and why would you want to? Unfortunately, scammers know this, which is why they use this as a route to take advantage of people.
You might be sent a job offer on sites like LinkedIn, but the cybercriminal is ultimately trying to get personal information from you.
If you respond to a scam offer, you might be asked to send things you would typically provide if you started a new job.
For example, you might be asked for your address and social security number. You could even be required to provide a copy of your photo ID. Instead of ending up with your dream job, you’re going to find yourself with a stolen identity in most cases.
4. Friend Requests From Friends Already Connected
If you use social sites and especially Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, you may have already encountered a fake friend request scam at some point. You get a request from someone you think you are already friends with. What can happen is that scammers are replicating accounts of people you know, pretending to be legitimate people.
If you accept the fraudulent friend request, you’re giving the scammer access to your personal information. They could do more than you can imagine with that.
5. Amazon Employees
Scammers increasingly claim to be from Amazon. Around one-third of business imposter complaints to the Federal Trade Commission involves scammers claiming they work for Amazon. Older people are four times more likely to get hit by younger adults than these scams.
Amazon has 1,608,000 employees worldwide, making these scams more authentic to victims.
You should ignore emails, social media messages, calls, or texts about unauthorized purchases or account activity. If you think there’s a real issue, you should call Amazon customer support directly.
How To Report an Online Scammer
Let your family and friends know about this Top 5 online scams by sharing this page on your social media. You can also officially report criminals and any other suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using this link, below:
How To Protect Yourself More
If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodic emails – we promise not to spam.
Meanwhile, educate yourself with some other Amazon fraud-related articles right under this paragraph, so that you know how to stay safe online. Last but not least, use the comments section below to expose other scammers.
Verify a website below
Are you just about to make a purchase online? See if the website is legit with our validator: