Human beings are nothing if not adaptable. The rise of the Internet made it possible for scammers, hackers and thieves to reach millions of people around the globe with their bogus schemes searching to bilk a fortune out of unsuspecting and overly trusting individuals. Money scams have been around for decades, and much like the world around us the schemes of thieves are ever evolving.
As consumers adapt to the common tactics used by scammers during the early years of the Internet, hackers and thieves have adapted their tactics to find new ways to steal your money and personal data. The following are some of the update scams thieves are using to get your money.
Phishing is a common Internet term that refers to the deceitful tactics thieves use to “fish” for personal data online. Spear-phishing is a highly specialized tactic that is often used to target a specific individual or business. More commonly used against private business or government agencies, spear-phishing is being adapted for use against individuals as well.
This tactic takes some time to pull off. Generally, the hacker gains access to your personal email account and spends time studying your habits and online patterns. Then they will send you an email posing as an official from your bank or credit union informing you that your account has been compromised. At this point you’ll be prompted to follow an included link to change your username and password.
What’s really occurred is that hacker has sent a fake link, stolen your username and password, and is now walking away with money from your account.
Posing as authorities
In light of a number of high profile security breaches at massive corporations, hackers are now posing as authority figures to steal your money. The common method is to send out emails posing as a Human Resources or Information Technology employee of a particular company claiming that the business has been hit by a data breach.
You’ll be asked to change usernames, password or download updated software packages to help enhance the security of your personal information. In reality, scammers are duping you into changing access information for your accounts or tricking you into downloading malware onto your devices. In either case, under the guise of increased security scammers have just tricked you into decreasing the security of your information.
This concept piggy backs off of spear-phishing scams. When a hacker has gained access to the accounts of a friend or relative, they’ll often use that to identify future victims.
Using hacked email accounts, scammers will engage in an even higher level of spear-phishing by contacting friends and family members to extend the con.
Simple emails are often sent out from the hacked account to close friends and relatives with dangers links included.
Assuming you are receiving a legitimate email from a known associate, the moment you click that link you’ve just exposed your personal information to hackers and thieves.
Bait and switch reinvented
The classic bait and switch maneuver lures in victims with the promise of one thing and the reality of another, more devious, reality. The most common form of bait and switch that impacts individuals is the false poll. If you haven’t seen one of these or been invited to one, false polls invite users to spend a few minutes taking a poll with the promised reward of $1,000 gift cards, free iPads or new smartphones.
However, in order to get these items users have to complete the poll and then sign up for multiple subscription services to get the free reward. The reality is there will be no free reward and those subscriptions are now draining your account.