Ah, if it isn’t the oldest trick in the book – cyber scam. It may come in all forms, and it can crawl everywhere, just like paparazzi trying to film a Hollywood star. But the “stars” here actually go by fake identities to trick inexperienced users into giving out sensitive information. The results are variable from identity theft to all of the money in your credit/debit card or e-wallet – gone. What is worse, scammers are getting better by the minute.
Why Do Cyber Scams Exist
To ask this question is relatively similar to asking why does crime exist in overall –because some people are vicious opportunists. Either way, it will only become more common, due to several primary reasons:
- It works.
- More and more individuals learn how to use the web every day.
- People rely more on technology in their daily life. (Internet of things)
So the bottom line for this good but rhetorical question is that there is no way out. It has become a war not against your computer – it has become a war against you because everything you have is there. PayPal, online banking, eBay, e-payments are just a small part of the websites that make users a lucrative target for cyber criminals.
How Does a Cyber Scam Work
To give you the best answer to this question, we have decided to communicate (by this we mean troll) a cyber-scammer after we received a report of a scamming SMS randomly sent out by the number +447932049169. Here is the message:
As visible the message has some mistakes in it and clearly appears to be a scam. Our next step after seeing it is natural to create a fake Gmail and contact the crook. We used the fake name, Katrina Diesel:
We immediately established communication and pretended to be a naive person believing there is something important going on:
We got a very big response that immediately corresponded to the fake name Diesel. The scammer actually wanted us to supply him with personal information:
At this point, we were very much intrigued by the work this person is putting in, so we decided to ask for more information on the “requirements to get rich quickly”:
We got another lengthy response, asking us to, pay attention, scan a personal identification document:
At this point, it became more than clear what this scammer was aiming at – identity. Identity trading is an extremely profitable business, and it can cause quite the trouble. Criminals may use your identity to commit various cyber-crimes and get away with it, leaving you to explain what just happened. What is a hell of a lot worse is that your identity can be used to draw credits from banks on your name, and this is devastating. The scammer who is collecting this data via such SMS spam is probably selling it to other parties or using it for his/her benefit.
For experienced users, of course, this may seem more than obvious to be a scam as soon as they see the fake SMS. But there are many users out there that do not realize that and cyber-crooks rely exactly on that. There are also other risks associated with such scams:
- Fake tech support fraud that draws financial data from users like the OSFirewall.exe scam.
- Scams that subscribe users for an expensive service that generates them big phone bills.
- Scams that install malware on your computer.
The bottom line is even if you get a direct call from a foreign number you do not know or expect, hang up the phone immediately and do not even text that number. There are also some other protection tips we would like to share:
- If you called the number immediately block any connections (incoming or outgoing) with this number by calling your phone operator.
- Report a scamming number to the authorities and on websites such as Okcaller and 800notes.
- Make sure you block(http://www.wikihow.com/Block-a-Call) the number from your phone.
- In case the scam is sent out by spam mail, make sure you use a spam-filter or, at least, software that has such feature.
- Do not give your data to strangers.
There you have it – online scamming stripped down to the basics. We recommend following the tips regularly to insure yourself that you are safer in the future.