In his “Atlantic City”-song, Bruce Springsteen sings:
Now I been lookin’ for a job but it’s hard to find
Down here it’s just winners and losers and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well I’m tired of comin’ out on the losin’ end
So honey last night I met this guy and I’m gonna do a little favor for him
When it comes to “get rich” schemes and Internet scams, don’t be a loser and get caught on the wrong side of the line, no matter how tempting the offer might be. We’ve all tried to receive e-mails saying that a rich uncle of ours, that we never heard of, died in a country far far away and we can get all his millions of dollars if only we transfer some money down there first to cover the expenses and so on. What happens – you never see your “cover the expenses”-money or the money from your rich uncle. While this kind of scam is so old, people still fall for it.
But that’s not biggest threat.
What really sucks, are the phishing sites. They can be really, really hard, to spot.
A phishing site, or e-mail, is when you are lead to believe that the site/e-mail is something you trust when in fact it’s something you should not trust and they are simply out to get your login details or credit card details. You might receive an e-mail looking to be from Amazon, Facebook or some kind of Bank that looks really authentic. It will claim that you need to update your details or something “bad” might happen. You click the link and you see the website you expected to see and you fill out your details and *BAM*, the harm is done. You just gave your details to the criminals.
While the site might look real with the real logo and all, the URL is always a fake (unless of course if it is the real site!) When you should actually be on amazon.com or maybe even https://amazon.com, you could be on amazun.com (just an example) or similar, which looks very much like the real domain. Or if the criminals are not that good or effective, you will just end up at some weird looking domain – but people still fall for it, because the site itself looks real.
It’s important to note that if they ask for credit card details, make sure the URL you are on begins with https:// (note the “s”). That means the line is secure, encrypted. Your browser should also have some kind of lock displayed, usually in the address bar, to indicate you are on a secure site. Luckily, today, most browsers come with a built-in phising filter that will warn you if you are about to visit a known phishing site. Unfortunately you might still be able to visit one without getting the warning, if the site is new or still relatively unknown.
If you’re in doubt, it’s always better not to go ahead. Close down the page and visit the site in question by entering the URL you know, in order to get to their support page and contact them to ask for validation.
Get Rich Scams
Oh, the good ol’ “get rich in a jiffy”-scams. It’s amazing how many people actually fall for them. Often it’s a matter of investing some money, maybe even not that much to begin with, and it makes people think “What if it works… I will be rich! And if it doesn’t, then I haven’t lost no more than I can survive”. That’s the kind of thinking that makes the scammers wallets thick.
If you’re on Twitter, you will without doubt have seen multiple Twitter user profiles already, having only one goal: To get people to visit their website / links in their tweets, at which they want to sell you something. While their product might be genuine and actually work for some, there’s a good bet you might end up with less money. They promise you secrets that nobody else knows (oh, really?), they promise you to teach you stuff – usually basic stuff that you could have found on the Internet for free elsewhere and they promise you amazing results without much work needed. Sounds wonderful. I mean, it sounds too good to be true…
Should you consider giving it a go, make sure you Google the product first, try to add “scam” to your search. See if you can find some websites that either vouch for the product in question, or warns against it.
As always – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s better to ask one of your tech savvy friends to do some digging before you invest, if you’re not too sure yourself on how to do it.
I will be covering more Internet Scams & Phishing tactics in future articles, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed so you don’t miss out.