When it comes to stealing and misusing personal data, scammers are getting more creative by the minute. Anyone can fall victim to an online scam. However, older people and teenagers tend to be most vulnerable because they can download malware onto their mobile devices inattentively, without taking the time to check if it’s genuine. This article deals with common online scams and the tactics scammers use to lure unsuspecting users.
Scams on Venmo
The fake prize scam is one of the most common Venmo scams. The scammer might send an email or a text with a link claiming you’ve won a prize or cash from Venmo. If you make the mistake of clicking on the link, you’ll be asked to provide details about your account or sign into it.
To prevent the regrettable consequences of this common scam, don’t ever give any login data outside of the Venmo app and the official site. If you provide account details on social media, only do so to official Venmo accounts. Venmo only sends emails from addresses ending in venmo.com.
Another common scam is a caller pretending to represent Venmo. They might make an attempt to sign in using your login details. Like most secure platforms, Venmo uses multifactor authentication, where users have to enter a code sent to their number as a second step to signing in. The scammer will call and ask you to provide the code.
Alternatively, they might say they work for the company and ask you to make a payment to another account or log into a new one they created for you because of “security issues” with your old one. Never tell anyone your code, even if they claim to be from Venmo. A real Venmo employee will never ask for the code over the phone. Moreover, they will never ask you to install an app or for remote access to your device. They will never create an account for you.
Windows Event Viewer Scams
Another common scam involves a fake support number associated with Event Viewer. The cybercriminal might ask you to install a desktop app. If you do, they will use it to infect your computer with malware. The fake support person will tell you how to open Event Viewer logs or how to access the system monitor.
They might even get into poetic details, like how monitor activity mirrors the heart activity of someone having a heart attack. They will present log file errors as proof that a virus has attacked your computer. Features that aren’t working will be presented as inactive because of the risk of a virus.
Scammers can exploit any technical tools built into the operating system to convince you that you’ve been attacked by malware. They might tell you to get TeamViewer and give them access to your number. Then, they will infiltrate your system, and it will become very hard to stop them.
The Computer Repair Scam
While this scam doesn’t actually start online, that’s where it unfolds. Usually, it starts with a phone call. Someone claiming to work for Microsoft or another major tech company calls and says they can help you with computer issues such as extensive loading time. If you agree, they’ll send you an email. When you open it, it will seem legitimate at first. Then, you proceed to install the malware. It takes over your OS and accesses all of your files and other data.
Never agree to purchase computer repair services over the phone. Microsoft will never call you. Never provide remote access to anyone you don’t trust completely, like a certified technician. If someone claiming to be one calls, don’t be afraid to ask questions. They will give up eventually.
The good news is that some countries are taking measures against scam calls. In the UK, major phone service providers block almost all calls automatically if they are coming from abroad but pretending to come from UK numbers.
Scammers prey on the philanthropically inclined. There may have been a tragedy in the news recently, and people want to help out. Scammers set up fake charity sites and donation accounts, then start working on a series of emails aimed at getting money out of the recipients. These scams can be quite successful in wealthier countries.
Just because a cause seems nice, don’t throw yourself at it. Do research into any site if you’re thinking about making a donation to make sure it is legitimate.