What Is an Online Scam?
- Computer scams, also known as online scams, do not differentiate a lot from normal scams in their core. Cybercriminals who create scams online lie to you and want to trick you into doing some action, be it giving them personal information they can use or clicking somewhere so they can gain benefits from that.
An informative post such as this one will make you familiar with the main types of scams and how to potentially avoid them. Continue reading, because no one is safe on the Internet and having the right knowledge can make you better prepared when you are facing an online scam.
An online scam may be harmful to your computer or try to work with social engineering and stress you into acting quickly without giving it much thought. That is how the majority of them work and the texts and visuals behind them are constructed in order to manipulate you on a psychological level to draw you into believing the scam.
Note. We will give you a recent example of an online scam targeting particular computer users – cryptocurrency users. A cryptocurrency support scam bot was discovered in May last year, and has now evolved. As a result, more cryptocurrency users are targeted.
- You are banned
- You have lost Internet connection
- Your Windows / Mac has a virus or other malware
- You have been hacked
- Your credential details and banking data may be leaked
- You have an error like a BSOD screen
- Your browser, software or drivers need a critical update
- Your firewall is down
- Call your bank and card provider, freeze your cards and arrange a physical meeting
- Shut down your Internet
- Scan your computer with an anti-malware software
- Change your passwords
- Check the scammer phone number in the Internet and alert people
- Rogue Antivirus programs.
- Browser hijackers.
- Fake optimizers.
To target specific users, scammers closely monitor all tweets that contain requests for support on MetaMask, TrustWallet, Phantom, and Yoroi. Other words that are monitored include “support,” “help,” and “assistance”. Once such are located, the scammers quickly respond to them with scam links, offering fake assistance and urging the potential victim to click a link.
In another example, security researchers detected a phishing scam that targeted various organizations across education and healthcare sectors. Approximately 27,660 mailboxes were reached by the suspicious email messages. The techniques the phishing operators used included vishing, drive-by downloads, and brand impersonation, among other social engineering tricks. Like in many other similar scam,s the lure in the campaign was a cleverly written, socially engineered email titled “New Incoming Voicemessage,” which included a header in the email body reiterating the email title.
Types of Online Scams
Numerous online scams circle the Internet time and time again, but we will discuss only the most common ones, while trying to explain the basic ideas behind them. Knowledge about them will help you into being better prepared when you see those online scams or new ones. Even if you witness a scam online that is not at all similar to the ones described in this article, you should be able to remember what you have read here and act accordingly without becoming the next victim of a new scam.
Technical Support Scams
Most common type of scam you will bump into is one surrounding Tech Support. A technical support scam is when telephone fraud is involved, while your computer or browser screen shows something unusual with a telephone number. Scammers claim to give legitimate technical support service, as if they are IT Support employees of a reliable firm. Frequently such these involve cold calls to unsuspecting users.
Targeted users are Microsoft Windows operation system owners in the majority of cases, so logically the scammers claim to be part of a Microsoft tech support team or from Windows Technical Support. Mac users are also being targeted in the last couple of years and even more often than in the past. Fraudsters claim to work for Apple in those cases.
In English-speaking countries such as the United States of America, Canada, and the UK, such telephone scams have been around since 2008 while the callers usually originate from call centers in India.
Here is how a technical support scam happens – cybercriminals try getting a potential victim to allow remote access his or her computer online. That happens as an unsuspecting user comes across a Web page on the Internet that either shows a message or redirects and downloads a file which locks the screen and then shows said message. The message always tries to scare you into panic-calling a phone number shown on the screen.
Screen messages are hundreds, but they always claim that something is wrong with your computer, such as:
Other and more innovative reasons may appear in these online scams for criminals to try and trick you into calling them. They will ask for remote access via FastSupport, TeamViewer, AnyDesk, LogMeIn, GoToAssist which are legitimate services, but used in these situations. In case you allow them remote access to your device, the con artists will try to convince you even more by involving Windows software or other equally popular programs, to gain your trust and try to make you pay for the support service.
If you go a step further and enter your credit card details, you will be taxed for the service, but with a bigger sum that you agreed on, while the scammer saying that he understood you wanted a monthly service for a year or something of the sort. Then, when you request a refund, you will be asked to login with your bank account somewhere. That data will be stolen, and the scammer will steal even more money, while claiming that you are on a secure server and he cannot see anything going on.
The phone call ends, you are suspicious of the scammer, but reassured by him that he is not involved, your device is fixed, but you are robbed of your money (some of which you don’t know about yet).
Phishing and Gift Card Scams
The next type of scams are the newer Gift Card scams and around since 2015 and maybe a bit earlier than that, but massively popular in the last couple of years. Those involve you being tricked into buying a Gift Card for a big online site such as Amazon or Walmart. You could also be tricked to enter a raffle to win such a card after answering a short survey or just fill your bank details. If you go for it, you will be robbed out of your money and left with no way to spend the alleged gift card.
These online scams are more straightforward and rely more on action from the user without anybody forcing them to do anything. Victims feel happy and excited to get their hands on a gift card for cheap or for free that they follow the short instructions on screen. Gift Card scams can also be perceived as Indirect Phishing scams as they only take the logo of a big company for the gift card without claiming the scam website being in any affiliation with the official company.
Phishing scams are another type of online scams to which Gift Card scams can easily be placed as a sub-type. Phishing scams involve a website or a single Web page designed to look exactly the same as the original so victims to be tricked into entering their login and credit card details into said website. Sometimes they also take spam email messages to include a message, link and picture so users can click on them and get redirected to the scam.
Phishing scams have websites that copy the URL address, logos, brand, copyright text, placement, colours, pages and most details about a company to near perfect match. DHL has numerous of pages that look convincingly enough for users to fall victim to them. Other companies of such caliber also fall victim to that copying in order for scammers to get the money from people who enter them and believe what they see without checking.
Winning Prizes Scams
Winning Prizes scams are exactly what their name suggests – scams which lie to you that you have won a prize. iPhone X, LG, popular headphones, a TV, a computer, a car, and many more prizes are promised if you get involved at clicking on links or filling out a survey. Logging in with your bank details is a dead giveaway that something is wrong, but people still fall for it.
After believing you have won or that you are exactly that one millionth visitor and you enter your details, you will be robbed of your money. Rarely, such scams are not interested in getting your money, or at least not directly, but want you to download some software, which is either a rogue anti-virus or a virus itself.
Sextortion scams have been around for a long time, but the most popular ones are from 2019 and early 2020, involving spam emails. Such emails are usually flagged by the mail services, so they are easier to avoid.
You open your email and get a message that you are hacked. You laugh it off, click to read it out of curiosity, only to find out that the hacker actually knows one of your passwords. It is an old, previously used password by you, but that is still personal information that you haven’t shared. Now you are beginning to read, and the more you go through, the more convinced you become.
The alleged hacker claims to have seen and recorded you pleasuring yourself and that if you do not pay in cryptocurrency to some address, the video will be sent to your friends and family. Of course that is a lie, and most such scams in the beginning were filled with all kinds of mistakes, even the BitCoin address being wrong or inactive, but they are evolving.
The most important things to do for preventing online scams is to read about them, think when such a situation happens and be suspicious of every problematic situation on your computer involving money. Be extra careful and always check the URL address.
What Can I Do After You Have Fallen Victim to a Scam?
If you are a scam victim online, these are the actions you could take:
Be careful and stay vigilant. Think before you act and always be suspicious of errors you haven’t seen before on your device. Call a friend or somebody tech-savvy you know before calling numbers of strangers that are seen on your screen.
What Is online scam?
The online scam threat is adware or browser redirect virus.
It may slow your computer down significantly and display advertisements. The main idea is for your information to likely get stolen or more ads to appear on your device.
The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your computer to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your OS.
What Are the Symptoms of online scam?
There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also unwanted apps in general are active:
Symptom #1: Your computer may become slow and have poor performance in general.
Symptom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.
Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.
Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.
Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Task Manager.
If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts recommend that you check your computer for viruses.
What Types of Unwanted Programs Are There?
According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently affect your Mac can be the following types:
What to Do If I Have a "virus" like online scam?
With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.
Step 2: Change all of your passwords, starting from your email passwords.
Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.
Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activities with your card.
Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.
Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.
Step 7: (Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.
Step 8: Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.
Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.
If you follow these recommendations, your network and all devices will become significantly more secure against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.
How Does online scam Work?
Once installed, online scam can collect data about your web browsing habits, such as the websites you visit and the search terms you use. This data is then used to target you with ads or to sell your information to third parties.
online scam can also download other malicious software onto your computer, such as viruses and spyware, which can be used to steal your personal information and show risky ads, that may redirect to virus sites or scams.
Is online scam Malware?
The truth is that PUPs (adware, browser hijackers) are not viruses, but may be just as dangerous since they may show you and redirect you to malware websites and scam pages.
Many security experts classify potentially unwanted programs as malware. This is because of the unwanted effects that PUPs can cause, such as displaying intrusive ads and collecting user data without the user’s knowledge or consent.
About the online scam Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this online scam how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific, adware-related problem, and restore your browser and computer system.
How did we conduct the research on online scam?
Please note that our research is based on independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware, adware, and browser hijacker definitions.
Furthermore, the research behind the online scam threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand this online threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.