According to the FBI’s 2020 IC3 – Internet Crime Complaint Center – report, internet-based crimes caused US citizens a whopping loss of over $4.2 billion. A total of around 800,000 crimes were reported, which is 300,000 more than 2019. And needless to say, online scams were responsible for most of these crimes and financial losses.
Come 2021, and online scams were up by 25 percent in the US, that too in the first 4 months alone. In the UK, online scams were up by 33 percent as the region saw a total loss of more than $2 billion so far in 2021.
Online scams and frauds have always existed. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, as more and more businesses and companies moved operations online, scammers became more active there. These scammers exploited users’ inability to identify such scams, and lack of internet-safety knowledge.
Thus, to stay safe, and secure your online presence as well as financial records, you will have to know about the dangers that await you. Plus, you also need to learn how you can stay clear of them.
With all that in mind, let us go through 4 of the most common online scams you are likely to encounter in 2022. At the same time, we will tell you how you can stay away from them, and tackle them if necessary.
#1 Cryptocurrency Scams
The “Squid” crypto, named after Netflix’s hit Korean series, Squid Game, made around $3 million in sales. It then disappeared, apparently turning out to be a scam.
Crypto scams are very common these days. And while buying and selling scams in cryptocurrency are the same as regular Forex or financial scams (more about that in the following section), you have to be more vigilant regarding which crypto you are investing in.
Keep an eye out for the FBI or national bank’s crypto backlist. Avoid all the currencies listed there. Also, never take investment suggestions from celebrities. They might end up profiting from your losses and you will never get to know about it.
#2 Forex Scams
To avoid a Forex trading scam, you will have to first be aware of the Forex market, and then the brokers. Brokers who do not disclose their profit-loss parameters or withdrawal rules are always fishy. You can never fully trust their services and can be almost sure that they are trying to pull you into some sort of financial fraud.
Thus, only trade with a regular Forex broker. In case you end up falling victim to a scam, get in touch with a Forex trading scan recovery company or agency. They can help you with the Forex chargeback procedure, and get your money back.
These companies will start the chargeback process as soon as you provide evidence related to the scam. After that, it is only a matter of time before your scammer is caught, and you recover your losses.
#3 Digital Kidnapping
While kidnapping is more of a crime than your usual scam, digital kidnapping does involve a certain degree of fraud.
In digital kidnapping, your social media accounts, as well as your online presence in general, remain at risk. You will fall victim to this type of online attack if you lose your online accounts, or pictures, files, etc. stored anywhere on the internet. To recover them, you might have to pay the attacker a ransom.
Most cases of digital kidnapping start when the target mistakenly clicks on or visits a phishing link. Through that, the attacker can steal your credentials, and then use them to steal your social media accounts. After that, they can take control of your accounts, and do whatever they please.
The best way to stay safe from such scams and attacks is by staying vigilant and avoiding fishy-looking links. Another good practice is to avoid various quizzes and games on these social media platforms. These games and quizzes can harvest data from you as you feed it to them yourself.
They can then use these data points they gather from you to try and formulate your credentials before using them to take control of your online profiles.
#4 Dating Scams
In the age of Facebook, Instagram, and Tinder, dating scams are nothing new. These scams work just as regular dating scams, except you are being scammed digitally instead of a face-to-face confrontation.
At first, it will start with regular text messages, maybe accompanied by a little bit of flirting. Then, the other person will try to get involved with you romantically. Even if it is not romantic, they will try to get more intimate with you.
At this stage, you can expect them to not just text you but often call you. From audio and video calls to exchanging pictures or graphic images, they will try to pull you closer to them before asking you for money, crypto, or anything else that is valuable. And the moment you give in to their demands, you will have been scammed.
Basic human judgment is key here if you do not want to fall victim to these dating scams. Even if you feel like engaging with them via texts and visuals, do not in any way give away any of your personal details. Even the exchange of visuals is not a healthy thing as they can misuse that as well.
Ideally, it is best if you can avoid online dating completely, or engage with people who can be vouched for by friends or people you know and trust.
As time passes, these online scams will be harder to detect and mitigate. Hence, it is in your best interest to be alert at all times while you are on the internet.
Share your personal information with only those websites that you can fully trust. And try to notify the concerned authorities whenever you notice or suspect a scam. That can help save others from falling victim to such cybercrime.