Learn important rules on how to stay safe online, know about employment fraud cases, how to prevent credit card fraud online, secure all of your devices by learning the best practises. There are a variety of scams that breed every single second on the internet and we will discuss the various strategies on How to identify a scam online, after going through this article you will be able to identify various types of threats, evolving threats, identify the mechanisms behind those threats and how to mitigate such risks.
Search Engines acts as double edged sword
Search engines like google bing yahoo and country specific local search engines can always act as double edged sword, having answers to both the questions like how to create a master web of scams online from scratch as well as how to mitigate such kind of scams and threats. The problem isn’t with the search engines though as they are committed to provide free and open access to knowledge to their users, after all learning about tricks and tools to hack someone or scam someone itself can sometimes be a part of knowledge because if someone is able to identify the mechanism behind those strategies they are able to both avoid as well as create their own it totally depends on the intent of the person.
How to identify a scam online?: Various scam methods and solutions to avoid them.
Pro Tip – Always impose a transaction limit on your debit/credit cards
keep a minimum possible limit on your cards and when you need to use the money temporarily increase the limit to the amount you want to use, then after withdrawing/using that amount again re impose the minimum possible limit, so now even those fraudsters have your card details but they cannot do very much except snatching their hairs, and who knows at what exact time you are going to withdraw the money.
Prevent credit card fraud online
In this section we will examine certain kind of scenarios and how one can prevent credit card fraud online by following the precautions mentioned here. One such case can be like if you are searching for exclusive credit card offers with waived of eligibility. If you already are unable to obtain a credit card from your local bank due to eligibility issues, you might search for something like “credit card without due diligence”, or “credit card without background check”, “instant credit card in 24 hours”, “credit card with waived eligibility”, “credit card without income proof” here obviously you might find some regional or national banks which are obviously genuine bank owned websites on the other hand in some of the search results you will see a paid advertisement where just left side to your search results you will see “Ad” text. In such results you will typically see an odd named website with generally a non .com domain.
In the above example you can see vendors are offering 1000-5000$ unsecured loan. Now you just think about it they are offering instant cash to your account in 5 minutes, now image you are a lender and want to lend some money and earn some serious interests but would you immediately just throw your 5000$ to a person whom yo have never met at least once and also with their bad credit score? Obviously nobody would like to do so.
Although google places heavy due diligence before listing any kind advertisement and does enough verification the hackers or the fraudsters will try to pass every checklist from verification such as they might create a new firm new tax registration, verify their phone numbers and bank accounts and these days its very easy to obtain such things as typically fraudsters have a certain network of people typically they will have a team of 50-100 or 200 fraudsters and if everyone of them has 1 business registrations with them, and as because they pose themselves as genuine people with a rented residential address and although there is a chance that once if the team gets caught by the police but still till that time they might have scammed at least some 400-500 or even more people and their setup costs are way before achieved and made even 10-20 times ROI and enough to run away. In other cases there might also be non Ad search result button typically after page 1st to 3rd in some cases after page 2 of google, then the probability of these sites to be a scam increases. Here in the website you will see that they will ask for your email and phone number and will call you after few minutes. Then they will pose as an agent from a registered nationally recognised financial company. They will at first trick you by saying it’s difficult to process the request, they will keep you engaged in a situation as if you feel like they are real persons. After some time from the initial call they will say that congrats your application has been selected and now they want you to verify your identity by asking a One time password sent to you and will tell you that they need that password to process the application and as soon as you provide it they will gain a privileged access to your smartphone, as although they don’t yet have your existing bank account password, they can manage access to your bank by going to forgot password section in your existing bank’s website(as obviously they will definitely ask you about your existing bank account details explaining that this is required to process the credit card) and once you provide that password all your money will be stole by them.
A carding/card cloning fraud
Sometimes a fraudster will call you to convey that your utility bill hasn’t been paid, or pretend to you that he is an employee of your bank and tell you that your bank’s UPI or payment transfer mechanism or any functionality has hit an error which will result in service disruption. So then they require your card and some other details in order to fix the issue.
Sometimes it also happens that while surfing the internet or through an email or a text message a fraudster provides a link that will look too much similar to the original website, like in case if you regularly visit some regional Ecom websites, they will create a lookalike website and if you try to purchase something from that false site and after entering your card details your cards credentials will be stolen.
The objective of these fraudsters is to steal card details from several users and create a database containing a list. Now lets assume that you are on the other side and the fraudster has called you and offering you a very expensive electronic or another product at a price of just 10-20% of the original price. What they have done is by using those various card details they will buy several products and as they themselves have not made any expense from their own the 10-20% money is the pure profit they make. Sometimes they might as well ask you to pay a small processing fee and after you have paid them they will run away as in such cases they just pretend to be a carder rather than actually being one. You should take care about one thing is that although if you manage to get a product at 20% of the price and since its a stolen product(purchased from someone’s stolen card) police will arrest you as well with the fraudster as you will be charged with involvment in such crimes.
So never respond to such calls even if they seem to be 100% from your bank and asking your card details you just instead should warn them that you will inform the police, or you may simply make fun of them and after that tell them to “shut up and get lost”. You know sometimes when you act as more cleverer than the hacker they will get so much frustrated, and I have done this many times, a fraudster calls me, I make fun of them and it really hurts their ego .
Pro Tip – Do not connect to a publicly open Wifi
Do not connect to a publicly open Wifi which doesn’t requires a password like typically a bus stand Wifi, Railway Wifi, Airport Wifi, Wifi in a hotel or restaurant and typically any Wifi which is open to access freely by the public. A hacker will have eye on these Wifi and once you connect with them they can intercept your connection and gain access to your device. Try to use your cellular data network as much possible, or get a good VPN service, a VPN will mask all the traffic your device makes through any internet connection thus preventing a hacker from determining your originality.
Employment fraud cases
Many times it happens to be that we are searching for employment opportunities in the internet. Here we can inspect some employment fraud cases examples. Some times we receive various text messages or emails which mostly lands on junks offering to provide job or business offers. In their message they say that by a random lottery process you have been chosen as a legal heir of some million dollars which someone donated on charity, here are some more examples of different kinds of frauds –
1.You have won a lottery of several million dollar,
2.A diplomatic officer claiming to be from a war torn country has siphoned money of some business owner to your country’s escrow account in order to save it from the war calamity and offers you a cut of several million dollars if you do a favour to them by claiming that money as it’s legal owner as they are from another country so they directly can’t claim it.
3.You have been selected as a manager by a multi million dollar business owner who needs to manage their fortune.
4.Install a mobile network operator’s server and tower in your home’s terrace and earn 1000$ per month.
5.You have been selected in a work from home job and you can easily earn 100s of $ per day.
Any time you read these lines be cautious they are all fake and once you accept their initial offer in the message they will then ask a certain fee to transfer those amount to you or give that job to you. After you pay them they won’t receive your phone call.
Here you can see that the sender is providing a business opportunity, they want you to act as a middleman and start your own profitable income, here the sender doesn’t belongs to the receiver’s country and so he can’t use their company to siphon business materials so they want you to act as a middleman and as soon as you start talking with them they will soon ask you to send them a fee for joining this opportunity arguing that it is a business capital.
Here the sender is offering an inheritance of their fortune. as soon as you proceed ahead with them they will lurk you in such a way that you will feel that it is a very genuine offer and has no flaws and then they will manage to agree you to make some advances so that they can process the inheritance by preparing transfer papers and to your bank account which they will say that it needs some money to process these documents. Typically at first they will ask you some small amount then will suddenly ask more arguing that due to some legal problems you need to pay more.
Here you can see that the sender has crossed all the limits. They are speaking so emotionally that you will start to empathise so much with the sender and you would believe that you should help her in donating this money to charity, and then will ask you to pay for legal proceedings as we saw in previous examples.
Pro Tip – Never install any app that is not been listed in your default app store.
For android if any app is not listed in the Play Store, for Apple if the app is not listed in App Store and if someone asks you to manually download an application from internet and install it on your phone never do so. Your phone will prompt you a warning before doing so. This will let the hacker install a reverse backdoor into your device and have access to all of your phone features like it’s camera location microphone and other things like your browsing history and all data that is stored in your mobile gets accessible by them.
A caution by IOS that this app cannot be verified and you should not install this app.
A prompt by android cautioning you to not install this app.
Rules on how to stay safe online
Check all of these rules on how to stay safe online before making any decisions. First and foremost clue you can get from these phishing websites/URL is that they make an unbelievable promise like a very high valued product at substantially high discount (above 70% or 80%) and typically these are not sold at such high discounts, or they will promise you to get most difficult job done which is unavailable otherwise one such service is like suppose you want to hire a private investigator having ethical hacking capabilities and you want them to investigate some case like probably find out a cheater and get some evidence for them or for your litigations. If you search in the internet for private ethical hackers, private trustworthy hackers to investigate something and in forums such as Quora you will get answers like best ethical hacker, this hacker has solved my most difficult case and I was able to win a litigation(answered by a certain author) and provide reviews that this hacker has extremely affordable prices and can gain access to any device, can get any kind of tasks done, and the author was really satisfied and even writes that this hacker is a very honest guy, talks very friendly and then will provide his messaging app contact information or their email address. Once you will ask them a resolution to your situation they will ask you for the tool fees and after sometime you have paid them they will demand more money and thus dupe your huge money.
Pro Tip – Never click on unknown or unverified links or shortened Url/Link from your laptop/computer/phone/tablet or links from unauthorised sources, you may receive such links via text messages, unknown persons in common messaging apps or anywhere in the internet while surfing online, typically these links promise a high value or high quality service or a product at extremely low cost or even for free and this might be sometimes related to the product or service you frequently search in the internet. Once you click on such links your device can be compromised.
So at first you are promised a very difficult job done, or a very high valued product or service at unbelievably insane discounts or free services which are otherwise very costly when obtained from genuine sources(like the one I mentioned in the credit card application case). After that you need to verify such existing claims and you really have too many options to verify such claims.
- You see the website’s contact information and try to find out if it is owned by a company, find out which country they are based and then in that country’s government corporate registrations website check out their business name. Try to find as much detail in their about us page. In most cases in their contact us page they will not provide their company name or the company owner name or typically they will abstain from providing their original legal names. One good and free source is the scamadviser.com website here you can search any website and get information about a certain vendor and verify their legal authority. A certain website which has a negative or scam like trends will immediately be highlighted with reasons inside the negative highlights column.
It will have a low trust score like in this screenshot
Although a good trust score of a website without any negative highlights can also have a possibility of scam.
2. Check for the site review in Trust pilot and try to verify by the non invited reviews. Also their are website’s related industry review platforms, there are many specific review websites that reviews websites on that particular business like if you are reviewing a web hosting platform try to search in the google “hostingcompany(replace this by the hosting website name) reviews” or search “top 10 web hosting reviews”. A few hundred or above 70-80 reviews with average above 4 or 80% above can be considered a safe choice. Always also check the negative reviews, from that you can identify problems related to that brand.
3. Try to find out the social media accounts of such vendors by simply searching the website name in Facebook/Google reviews also with Instagram profiles and try to figure out by the number of posts made by them and how many people have liked and commented those. Typically a good company will have a verified tick mark on the Facebook or have some hundreds or thousands of people liking, following or recommending the product and/or made several comments or positive reviews. Try to find out in other social media forums like Reddit Quora and google reviews and also their linkedIn accounts. A good company will have a few number of linkedIn profiles each having high network of people, and such companies/people have high social media activity.
4. Try to find the reviews on YouTube and see the number of views and also check the comments section and number of likes. A few thousand views, likes and minimum 40-50 comments are positive in nature.
5. A website not being marked unsafe by scam adviser along with good social media presence and at least a dozen of YouTube review videos(along with checklist 4) can be concluded as a highly genuine vendor.
6. Search in all popular forums about the product or the vendor/company. See how much popular that thread is and how many people have engaged commenting about it.
7. In general if you find any misleading or false claims with very high reward for a fraction or minuscule costs as compared to general pricing trends of such products and services always verify all of the above factors. It might be that a product looks total legitimate and most of the above criteria is matched, then also avoid paying large upfront amounts of money or large one time payments.
8.Use an Antivirus and the ones which is paid honestly speaking paid antivirus is a much less cost then the worth of risk you are putting, and activate its browser protection feature. Almost all antivirus have a browser protection feature for Chrome Safari Firefox Opera and other popular web browsers. This will immediately protect your web surfing activity from potential hackers. It doesn’t matter which OS you are using, even if you are using a Mac or an iPhone still then you need an antivirus program.
Pro Tip – Whatever device you are using be it phone computer laptop Windows Mac Linux Android IOS or any other operating systems always make sure to keep updating to the latest updates and acquire them as soon as they are released. Try not to use a second hand device as this already reduces the chance of compromising of the device drastically as already used devices whether you buy it second hand or just find a lost phone or computer using that kind of devices are a major security and privacy risk because they might have some sophisticated malware installed in them and even you will see that a 2000$ Mac has been abandoned by someone on a restaurant or a park or any public place. You are majorly cautioned to not pick up those laptops or devices be it how much high valued it is Never Pick Them. Do not use a jailbroken iPhone or a rooted android device unless you are using it for app developer purposes and you know how to keep it safe while doing so. Always use a genuine version of windows the most latest windows IOS and MacOS with latest updates. Avoid using hackintosh machines.
If you have any questions about this post or any of the topics mentioned here please do leave a comment in this section.