Sometimes you interact with someone and detect that they are up to no good immediately. Maybe you are good at judging body movements. Perhaps it is the words they choose and how they say them.
When you interact with someone in-person, you can judge their intentions better compared to communicating online. Internet-based interactions are not always personal.
Scammers can easily impersonate someone else. Or they could send you emails that look genuine but have malware. Against that backdrop, this article explains popular online scams in 2022 and how to avoid them. Let’s get started.
1. Online Gambling Scams
Online gambling is now legal in a growing number of US states, from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. Being a new industry, scams targeting online gamblers are on the rise.
Some of them have fake betting sites that lure victims through bonuses. When you visit these sites, they infiltrate your devices with malware. Others send you emails claiming you have won money from casinos. But you need to send a small amount of cash to the scammers before you receive your windfall.
How to Avoid Casino scams: If you live in the US, read this detailed breakdown of top PA online casinos. Discover how to identify genuine gambling sites. In doing so, you can also spot fake casino offers. Another tactic is to ignore any unsolicited casino offers emailed to you.
2. Fake Online Charities
People around the world are donating more to charity than ever before. That’s great. However, some of the charities popping up online are not genuine. These scams become particularly rampant when there’s a major disaster.
For example, a scammer could setup a website and ask people to help the victims of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The site can be sophisticated, usually designed to resemble a genuine charity like the Red Cross.
When a charity site looks genuine, there’s bound to be some people who will donate their money. An example is the Cancer Fund of America. The name sounded genuine and the organization had approval from the IRS.
Despite that, the family-run organization scammed Americans $187 million before it was shut down.
How to Avoid Fake Charities: If you want to donate for a specific course, find out the official organizations accepting donations for the course. Sites like Charity Watch and BBB Wise Giving can lead you to genuine sites for making your donations.
3. Free Trials with Hidden Fees
Free trials can be life-saving. You see a product or software you like. But you’re not ready to pay for it. The online scammer gives you a one-month free trial. If it’s a product, they could ask you to pay for shipping alone.
The scam happens in the company’s terms and conditions. Normally, they ask you to link your credit card before you can get the free trial. Inside their terms and conditions is a statement saying you’re contracted to pay $10 to $50 in monthly fees until you cancel your subscription.
Now, most people don’t read terms and conditions. They click the “I Agree” button and claim the free trial. As mentioned, though, this behavior can tie you to monthly subscriptions you never agreed with.
How to Avoid this scam: Read the terms and conditions for every online offer. We know—terms can be exhausting. But understanding them is the only way to can spot hidden fees.
4. Free WiFi Hotspot Scams
While seated at a local coffee shop, in the park or airport, it is easy to get tempted to access the Internet through freely available WiFi hotspots. Most of them don’t even have passwords.
The problem: Anyone can avail their cellphone hotspot to the public. If a scammer does this, their goal is to steal your personal or financial data. They can steal your bank passwords, your social media logins and personal videos.
In light of that information, there’s a new campaign advising people to avoid public WiFi. If you don’t have mobile data bundles, stay off the Internet until you find secure WiFi.
How to Avoid this Scam: Turn off automatic WiFi connections for your devices. In doing so, your devices won’t connect with any freely available WiFi. Secondly, only use public WiFi if you can confirm that it’s genuine. Another trick is to use a VPN to shield your identity while browsing online.
5. Crypto Scams
Everyone seems to be talking about Bitcoin and crypto these days. Bitcoin is cool, it is constantly producing new millionaires and is dubbed to be the currency of the future.
Needless to say, crypto is cool enough to attract scammers. And they come in all types. The most common scam targets greedy investors. A scammer can ask you to send $100 worth of Bitcoin to a certain address.
They lie that the bitcoin you send will be used for a good cause. As a reward, you will also receive double or triple what you sent. Of course, you will never receive any crypto back.
Some crypto scams are more sophisticated. They might come in the form of a new cryptocurrency or NFT. The scammers will usually pump its price astronomically, say 500% in a day. In turn, eager investors will buy the coin and inflate its price.
After a few days or weeks of the new coin growing significantly, the scammers cashout their profits. The coin’s value comes tumbling down.
How to avoid crypto scams: the best option is to enlighten yourself with how crypto work. Learn how to identity pump and dump crypto coins. Discover how to spot fake crypto trading sites. Importantly, beware of bitcoin deals that sound too good to be true.
Online scams are continuously evolving. They are getting sophisticated and harder to identify. Still, to be clear, you can avoid frauds by staying ahead of their tricks. Learn how they trick people and figure out how to avoid them.
Most scams have one or more red flags. The sites might be impersonating legitimate sources. They might have hidden fees or offer free money. Learn how to spot the red flags you will succeed at stopping online scams.