Easter Cyber Scams to Avoid
With Easter weekend right around the corner, Investigation Hotline advises you to be extra cautious and mindful of cyber crime. Although the internet serves as a powerful tool and resource for people around the globe, it also provides opportunity for criminals to target unsuspecting victims in illegal and sneaky ways.
Here is a quick list of some of the most popular cyber scams circling the world wide web:
- Phishing email scams
- The Nigerian scam
- Greeting card scams
- Guaranteed bank loan or credit card scam
- Hitman scam
- Lottery scam
- Romance scam
- Fake antivirus software
- Hijacked Facebook profile scam
- “Make money fast” scams
- Travel scams
- Delivery scams
- Stock market scams
- Job offer scams
- SMS scams
- Fake news scam
The top three most common internet scams are listed in detail below:
Phishing email scams
Phishing attacks are the most common type of cyber crime. Statistics dictate that year over year, the number of phishing emails sent increase dramatically. The effects of these attacks can be terrifying and costly to both individuals and organizations, which is why it is important to raise security awareness around the issue. By definition, phishing scams involve communication via email or social networks. Internet criminals will send their victim a message to try to trick them to give them their login credentials - to a bank account, work account, social network or any other type of data that may be of value. These communications will seem to come from an official or reputable source in an attempt to cover up their illegitimacy. Typically, the criminal will also create a sense of urgency towards taking an action such as telling you a scary story about how your bank account is under attack and that you must enter your credentials to confirm your identity and alleviate the threat. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of a phishing attack is to be very cautious whenever you are inputting any personal information into a computer. Ensure that the source is legitimate and trustworthy. We also advise that you install proper antivirus and malware protection.
The Nigerian scam
This scam is one of the oldest and most popular online scamming techniques. It involves an emotional letter, email, text message or social networking message from a criminal who asks you to help them receive a large amount of money from a bank. They request that you pay small initial fees for legal matters. In exchange for your assistance, they promise you a large return on your initial investment. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning and they will continue to ask for more money for additional services such as transfer costs. They may even provide you seemingly legitimate documents to make you believe the transactions are real. When all is said and done, the criminal runs away with all of the money you’ve provided. In the worst of cases, these types of scams have involved kidnapping and murder
Greeting card scams
This common type of scam involves an electronic greeting card that you receive. Although it may appear to come from a friend or loved one, the sender is in fact a criminal looking for their next victim. If you open the email and click on the card, it usually downloads malicious software that can cause a whole series of problems - pop up ads, operating system issues, or worse. In the more malicious versions of this scam, cyber criminals install remote tracking software that enables them to record your personal information based on keystrokes on your keyboard. For example, if you open the infected email and then log into your bank online, the criminal may now have access to your digital bank account. The best way to avoid victimization is to never open or download any attachments that come from untrusted sources.
Additionally, be very mindful of a re-emerging scam involving the Canadian Revenue Agency. Cyber criminals, pretending to work for the government, may contact you this tax season asking for confidential information. If you ever receive a phone call or email to this effect, disregard it immediately and contact the CRA directly. For more information on this topic, see an old blog post of ours here.
This coming Good Friday, be sure to keep your family and friends safe from cyber crime. Do your best to take all necessary security measures. If, however, you believe you have been victimized of a crime, do not hesitate to call Investigation Hotline at any time, day or night.