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 faced against 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.
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.
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:
- 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
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:
- 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
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.
- Guide 1: How to Remove online scam from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of online scam on Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove online scam in Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase online scam from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall online scam from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove online scam from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate online scam from Internet Explorer.
- Guide 8: Disable online scam Push Notifications in Your Browsers.
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 https://www.virustotal.com/gui/home/upload.
To better understand this online threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
1.Browser Redirect – What Is It?
2.Adware Is Malicious, and It Uses Advanced Techniques to Infect
3.The Thin Red Line Between Potentially Unwanted Programs and Malware
4.The Pay-Per-Install Affiliate Business – Making Millions out of Adware
5.Malicious Firefox Extensions Installed by 455,000 Users Blocked Updates
How to Remove online scam from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove online scam
Step 2: Uninstall online scam and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by online scam on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by online scam there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Step 4: Scan for online scam with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.
2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.
3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.
4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.
Video Removal Guide for online scam (Windows).
Get rid of online scam from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall online scam and remove related files and objects
1.Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:
3.In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to online scam:
4.Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.
5.In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to online scam. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.
6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference.
Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to online scam. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.
7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove online scam via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:
2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:
3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as online scam. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove online scam files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as online scam, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Video Removal Guide for online scam (Mac)
Remove online scam from Google Chrome.
Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu
Step 2:Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"
Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Erase online scam from Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window
Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.
Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Uninstall online scam from Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Start Edge browser.
Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.
Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".
Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.
Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.
Remove online scam from Safari.
Step 1: Start the Safari app.
Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.
Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the online scam will be removed.
Eliminate online scam from Internet Explorer.
Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'
Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.
Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.
Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.
Remove Push Notifications caused by online scam from Your Browsers.
Turn Off Push Notifications from Google Chrome
To disable any Push Notices from Google Chrome browser, please follow the steps below:
Step 1: Go to Settings in Chrome.
Step 2: In Settings, select “Advanced Settings”:
Step 3: Click “Content Settings”:
Step 4: Open “Notifications”:
Step 5: Click the three dots and choose Block, Edit or Remove options:
Remove Push Notifications on Firefox
Step 1: Go to Firefox Options.
Step 2: Go to “Settings”, type “notifications” in the search bar and click "Settings":
Step 3: Click “Remove” on any site you wish notifications gone and click “Save Changes”
Stop Push Notifications on Opera
Step 1: In Opera, press ALT+P to go to Settings.
Step 2: In Setting search, type “Content” to go to Content Settings.
Step 3: Open Notifications:
Step 4: Do the same as you did with Google Chrome (explained below):
Eliminate Push Notifications on Safari
Step 1: Open Safari Preferences.
Step 2: Choose the domain from where you like push pop-ups gone and change to "Deny" from "Allow".
online scam FAQ
What is online scam?
The online scam threat is adware or browser redirect virus. It may slow your computer down siginficantly 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 has poor performance in general.
Symtpom #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 reccomend 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:
- Rogue Antivirus programs.
- Browser hijackers.
- Fake optimizers.
What to do if I have a "virus" like online scam?
Do not panic! You can easily get rid of most adware or unwanted program threats by firstly isolating them and then removing them from your browser and computer. One reccomended way to do that is by using a reputable malware removal software that can take care of the removal automatically for you. There are many anti-malware apps out there that you can choose from. SpyHunter is one of the reccomended anti-malware apps, that can scan your computer for free and detect any viruses, tracking cookies and unwanted adware apps and eliminate them quickly. This saves time when compared to doing the removal manually.
How to secure my passwords and other data from 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 e-mail 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 activiites 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 reccomendations, 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.
More tips you can find on our website, where you can also ask any questions and comment underneath the articles about your computer problems. We will try to respond as fast as possible.