Internet scams are continually evolving. Right now, con artists around the world are likely targeting a computer or mobile device near you. Here's a look at the most common internet scams- and what you can do to safeguard your personal information and wallet.
Common types of covid-19 scams include:
i) Fake health organisations. Scammers pose as health authorities like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and U.S. Centres for Disease Control (CDC) to offer cures, tests or other covid-19 information
ii) Websites that sell fake products. These sites offer face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and other high-demand products that never arrive. Buy products from known marketers only.
iii) Bogus government sources. These scammers claim to issue updates and payments on behalf of the Internet Revenue Services (IRS) or local tax authority.
iv) Fraudulent financial offers. Scammers may pose as banks, debt collectors, or investors with offers designed to steal your financial information.
v) Fake nonprofit donation requests. Many people like to donate to charitable causes to help with disaster relief. This provides an excellent opportunity for scammers to setup fake nonprofit hospitals, and other organisations to collect funds. Donate directly through a reputable nonprofit's website instead of clicking on a link you receive by email or text.
v) Disaster relief scams. When disaster strikes- whether it's a pandemic or weather-related- so do fraudsters. Hiding behind the guise of an actual aid organisation, scammers will use a tragedy or natural disaster to con you out of your money. By thinking you're donating to an emergency relief fund, you unwittingly provide credit card or other payment information.
Only give to established, legitimate organisations. Visit Guidster or Charity Navigator to verify the validity of any charitable organisations you are considering supporting before you donate.
vi) Phishing scams. You receive an email from a seemingly familiar enterprise that you deem legitimate, such as your bank, university or a retailer you frequent. The message directs you to a site- usually to verify your personal information such as email addresses and passwords- that then steals your information and exposes your computer to attack by scammers.
Phishing scams are some of the most common attacks on consumers. According to the FBI, more than 114 700 people fell victim to phishing scams in 2019.
You should never click the links provided in emails you can't independently confirm. Doing so will make your computer and personal information vulnerable to viruses and malware. Phishing emails will often contain typos or grammatical errors, and senders' email address often looks suspicious.
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