Avoid The Dodgiest 2020 Online Scams
Email, messaging apps, and mobile online connectivity are in many ways a blessing, but like all tech advances, they bring a new set of curses too. Spamming scammers are among the most infuriating.
Deposed dictators, or for variety their widows, desperate to unload stolen millions for an up-front percentage. Young ladies in your neighborhood just dying to meet you “for conversation and share fun photos”, if only you can pay a friend’s university fees.
Or carefully faked accounts identical, at first glance, to the government department, financial institution or online store they’re impersonating, with news of a refund owed, if only you can provide a few details…
Online Cons Of 2020
We’ve seen an ugly twist on the last technique in 2020, with scammers using the health and income crisis as bait. Pretending to be medical insurers, government agencies, financial institutions, and even respected charities, fraudsters are scamming people with fake offers of financial relief.
The cons use two common techniques: phishing and malware. Scammers pretending to be a relevant authority offering help phish for personal information to enable identity theft. They can then use your details to rack up fraudulent transactions in your name.
Or they might offer a mislabelled link to click, which will instead install malware on your device. If they record your keystrokes, they record all your passwords and bingo! They may even be able to control your device and access other networks.
Do not respond to these messages or click on their links, especially if the posted name and address are different. Instead, contact the institution directly to see if any information is required.
Blackmail Scam Nets Gullible
The nastiest development in online cons of 2020 is a sordid blackmail scam involving smut and Bitcoin; in themselves both magnets for online chicanery.
The key to any con is belief; the mark must believe the scammer. The Bitcoin blackmail con involves an email, generally in terrible English, claiming to be from a digital “security” company that has monitored your online behavior.
As proof of this, they quote your email password or one you changed recently… and bank on the fact that too many people use the same password for multiple accounts, including any adult sites they visit regularly. If you believe they have your passwords, you’ll believe that you might have clicked on a link that downloaded malware.
You may even believe they have managed to record you with your own camera, plus the videos you watched, to release to your contact list. You might pay them Bitcoin to “avoid the shame”.
Just delete the email, then update all your passwords and scan your devices for malware. They probably stole a password in one of the mass data breaches suffered by Microsoft, Google, and others, so your other passwords could be vulnerable. Not all sites are as well protected as those you can play NZ slots for real money on!
How To ‘Avoid The Shame’
And the easiest way to see straight through this scam from the get-go, of course, is ridiculously simple. Know that if what people are saying sounds crazy, it probably is!