Concern over identity theft and other online scams seems to be a way of life once you do anything online. With 32 known types of criminal fraud, there are some easy suggestions to avoid some of these online scams and scammers. Installing antivirus software and firewalls, encrypting data, making sure your data is properly deleted, checking your privacy settings, and other device protections can protect you and your devices from most hacking attempts, data breaches, or online scams.
Others like online vehicle sale fraud, telemarketing scams, charity and disaster fraud, scams on the elderly, Ponzi schemes, prime bank note fraud, and that infamous Nigerian Prince are also easier to spot and avoid by simply not participating and having the company thoroughly examined.
A few are harder to avoid. Business Email Compromise (BEC), counterfeit prescription drugs, healthcare fraud, internet fraud, and skimming can take place without you even seeing, hearing, or approving anything. Then there are the scams that you may unwittingly or voluntarily participate in like investment scams, or work as a money mule to help launder money and business fraud.
Being reasonably intelligent you may think you will never get caught in a scam, but the sad reality is the scammer just has to find a chink in your armor to lure you into a scam. Your very intelligence, emotions, and lack of physical and online security measures can be used against you. That’s why there are different types of online scams so the scammer can find the right one to suit you.
Being aware of the online scam is half the battle. These are just the top five online scams that are gaining in popularity over the last few years that you may or may not be aware of that steal your money and your identity.
Phishing and Spoofing Scams
Phishing or spoofing scams involve tricking you to provide personal information to scammers. How do they do it? By asking! And yes, you just give it to them because you believe they are someone you should trust. Now, why do you believe that? Because they said so and sent you an email from your bank saying they’re your bank and you didn’t check with the bank before blurting out your PIN number.
Lucky for you the banking industry is wise to these phishing and spoofing scams, so banks now warn their customers against giving out such information via phone and email. Yet, in 2020 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported over 241,000 phishing and spoofing scams, an increase of over 100% from 2019 making it the #1 scam people lose money on.
Compared to the other online scams on this shortlist, phishing and spoofing seem the easiest to deter, yet people fall for it all the same. In this new version of this online scam, they email you for Netflix and Amazon account information. To avoid being a victim of phishing and spoofing, protect your credit card information, social security number, other private information and take the necessary online security measures like using ID validation and IDMdevice to verify where the email originated. At IDMERIT, our goal is to ensure your information can and should only be accessed by you. Passwords and two-step verification can be circumvented, but ID card verification through our ID validation systems cannot. We even scan the device the scanner uses to access the information to ensure your complete safety. Don’t become one of 2021’s fraud victims. Contact IDMERIT for an identity verification solution today.
Market Manipulation Using Social Media
Market manipulation is a practice of influencing the real-time price of a security through trading. The scammer manipulates the stock market to either dump bad stock or buy the stock at a low price. Market manipulation is considered illegal and unethical by many countries, and punishable by fines and imprisonment.
Social media has become a major player in the world market due to its growing popularity as an influencer of stock prices. With more than 2 billion users on Facebook alone, social media has created an immense network of content creators and consumers who can be used to manipulate stocks with ease.
There are two main ways this scam works.
The Pump and Dump
The scammer buys stock in a sometimes new company or known company that’s failing then ‘pumps’ it up through media releases, discrete email leaks, texts, social media posts and even through other people like an ‘independent’ stock analyst. All these announcements promise a rise in the stock price due to either a fake merger, promised investors, an IPO, or some other fake business news. This builds legitimate interest and raises the actual stock price then the scammer sells the stock and makes money. Their victims then discover none of these things promised will ever take place and if they aren’t wise to get out before the stock falls then they end up losing money.
The Hype and Dump
In the hype and dump, the scammer hypes up the stock through trading manipulation. It is designed not only to fool the victim but the entire industry. In this case, stock market prices are manipulated by arbitrary quotes on the stock value that have no bearing on reality. The manipulator targets securities that don’t have a lot of public information on them, where they can control a large portion of the stock, purchase stock before the close of the market to send positive signals, then buy and sell as if they are multiple persons. This causes the stock market to assume there is some significant trading happening until real traders will get interested and start buying, then the manipulator starts dumping.
Market manipulation affects the entire stock market and is sometimes done so smoothly it takes a while for the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to suspect there has been market manipulation. Marketing departments for large corporations also use social media platforms to selectively release information to create trends that will influence stock prices in their favor. Making it difficult to track what’s real news and what’s fake.
By the time an investigation begins, it’s harder to find the scam from genuine marketing efforts. The SEC does its best to find the perpetrator after the scam, but you can take precautions to protect yourself and your company from data breaches, email leaks, and misinformation by having everything verified before you invest.
Online Dating Scams
Ah amore! Love is such a wondrous and fickle thing…especially when it runs off with your money. According to the FTC, in 2019 victims lost $201 million USD after being swindled by their online sweetheart. People within the age bracket 55 to 64 years and women are more likely to get scammed.
How do online dating scams or ‘catfishing’ as they are sometimes called, work? By basically pretending to be the love of your life, only they’re too far away to touch and in a desperate need to get to you, but alas, your love is without funds. Or worse, your love is ill and needs life or death surgery, or maybe your new love simply needs a compromising picture of you, one they can use to blackmail you with later. Luckily, there are some warning signs that your casanova isn’t the Nigerian Prince he said he was.
- No video chats
- Can’t ever meet
- Love is always instant
- Money is never sent to a legit name or is sent using shady means
- The profile is too good to be true. E.g. Hot body, brains and remote profession
Romance scams prey on your heartstrings and that’s the way they succeed in parting you from your hard-earned money. Sometimes, they even ask you to receive money or pick up a package and through an online dating scam, you can end up in drug trafficking, money laundering, or becoming a money mule if you are not careful.
To protect yourself from an online dating scam you can become so cold that nothing touches your heart, not even the picture of a tiny starving kitty or you can avoid becoming an ice princess and get some online security measures. Using online hookup verification or ID card verification as a viable identity verification solution is a simple measure to protect you from an online dating scam.
When choosing your next online dating platform be sure that they are equipped with IDMERIT’s ID validation and identity verification solutions that provide age verification, online hookup verification, and a secure dating ID. This way you can protect yourself from online scams by verifying who you are speaking with on the platform before agreeing to meet off the platform and in person.
Non-Payment and Non-Delivery Scams
Doing business is hard enough without having to worry about not being paid for your hard work. Non-payment and non-delivery is the second-highest scam of 2020 and for a business owner, it must be the most unavoidable, frustrating, and dreaded online scam.
As the name says, the scammer either doesn’t pay or doesn’t deliver. Making them either a customer or a company. Unless it’s a large purchase like a car or a house, companies rarely investigate customers for simple purchases and coupled with identity theft, the fraudster can simply provide false information when you do check, then don’t pay.
For customers, being drawn into a non-delivery online scam is very easy. The company acts, advertises and looks like any other legitimate business. Not until, after you pay or in some cases, you receive your bogus package, then you realize they’ve ghosted you.
Protecting yourself and your company from non-delivery and non-payments scams is super easy, barely an inconvenience with IDMERIT. We help you become Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB) compliant and get risk assessments on companies and ensure they are fraud and risk compliant before you do business with them.
Through IDMdevice, you can see who’s interacting with your e-commerce store before they buy by scanning their device. Adding ID validation on your devices, not only can you verify age online, but you can avoid age verification scams and secure yourself in person through our ID validation systems. Let IDMERIT’s identity verification solutions prove how they can make non-payment and non-delivery a thing of the past.
There are a lot of ways for a scammer to steal your identity. They can do it from government databases, social media databases, bank databases, medical databases, gaming platforms and even from you as a child. They can get it through innocuous forms when you sign up for anything online. Then the identity thief uses your information to procure loans, file taxes, get medical services or simply go on a shopping spree ruining your credit along the way.
If they stole your identity as a child, a habit that USA.gov says is getting very prevalent then it may take years before the theft is noticed. If you’ve never taken a loan, yet on your first job or loan application, you find you have bad credit or even a credit card you’ve never seen with purchases you don’t know about, then that’s someone else using your information.
Protecting your child while online from scammers is now more important than ever before. Talk to your child about not giving out information to anyone over the phone, on social media or while gaming online. Make sure younger children are on protected kid-safe platforms when online and take control of their account protections early.
Identity theft’s largest target group is the elderly. In particular, loners who are not aware of how to protect themselves from online scams and don’t have anyone around to teach them. You may not be in their prime target group, but without proper online protection, a personal data breach of your device could lead to identity theft.
Data breaches or hacking has increased across social media companies, cell phone providers, major department stores and even in the government. Relying solely on these institutions to protect your company and your personal data is creating a risk to your employees and your family. Use IDMERIT’s ID validation systems or online hookup verification when gaming, dating, or scrolling online. Ensure there is a secure dating ID on online dating platforms, ID card verification and id validation when doing business online. Know your customer and who you and your family interact with online and keep your money safe with IDMERIT.
As mentioned before, being aware is half the battle and can make you a little cynical when doing business online with your fellow man. Scammers aren’t coming up with new scams, all they are doing is revamping the old scams by finding new points of the attack online. Most of these scams rely on your access or unprotected information.
Knowing how to protect yourself and where to get trusted verified information on the companies and persons you deal with is the other half. Let no one hide behind a screen and take your hard-earned money or your very identity with identity verification solutions from IDMERIT.
Let IDMERIT provide online hookup verification and request a secure dating ID when online dating and prevent online scams. Protect your children online and avoid age verification scams and identity theft through ID card verification and age verification. With IDMERIT’s ID validation systems let no scammers threaten your money or your life.