If there is a way to exploit people and make money, cons will figure out how to do it. The internet is especially vulnerable because you do not know who is on the other side of the computer. There are hoaxes, email scams, and other types of spam that can be hard to tell from legitimate businesses or opportunities. So just what are the most common cons and what can you do about them? This article will help you understand more about cyber cons and what to do if you have been conned.
Common Email Cons
It is pretty easy to get any email address nowadays, and yours may be susceptible to being bought or procured by a criminal. Once this happens, you may find some strange emails in your inbox. One common email cons is The Foreign Lottery Scam, which claims you won a certain amount of money from a foreign country. They will request personal information to send you the money. Do not send them this info as they will steal your identity and drain your bank account.
A Survey Scam happens when you are sent a link to take a survey based on something you are interested in. Once you click on the link, malware or spyware is installed in your computer. The thieves can then collect your information such as bank accounts, passwords, and other personal information.
The PayPal or Online Banking Scam sends you an email saying something is wrong with your account. The site is designed to look like PayPal so you input your information to verify it, which is when the cons have your actual PayPal account information. They then take the money out of your account and leave you penniless.
Common Social Networking Cons
Having a social network account is pretty much a must have nowadays, but this also makes you vulnerable to cons. Do you know all of those quizzes you see online? Some of them require you to input your cell phone number to get the results. The next time you receive your phone bill, you will notice an extra charge on it for a “monthly service.” This is from the quiz you took where you put your cell phone number in; the thieves are collecting the money.
The Hidden URL Scam is used by cons to hide malware or spyware in their links. While many people use TinyURL.com to shorten their links for twitter, con artists take advantage of this to use these short links to take you to a bad website. If you gain a new follower and don’t know who they are, check out their previous posts. If they all seem like spam, then chances are they are not a legitimate person.
What to Do
Depending on what type of fraud occurred, you may want to report it to the authorities. If your identity has been stolen and the cons took money out of your account, cancel all of your credit and debit cards right away. Dispute the charges with your bank and explain what happened. In some cases, if the person who scammed you is caught you can take them to small claims court and try and get your money back.
Another thing to do is change all of your passwords to something that is difficult to guess and completely different than your previous password. If the cons have access to one account, they will gain access to other accounts.
Do not respond to any other emails the scammer sends you. If they try calling you, just hang up and do not answer if they call back. End all communication as soon as you realize you have been scammed.
There are a variety of cyber cons out there, so be diligent when opening emails and clicking links on social networking sites. If you do suspect you have been a victim of a con, cut off all contact with the scammer immediately and close down any bank accounts that have been compromised. By being proactive, you may be able to minimize your losses.
Ken Wilson is a Tech Guru and Security Specialist at ThePCDoctor, Australia’s Number 1 Computer Support company.