Fighting back against internet scams can often feel like playing Whac-a-Mole—no sooner is one scam vanquished than another pops up to take its place. Even those who are generally wary of unsolicited communications can fall victim to the most sophisticated scams. Below are five common online scams that all consumers should avoid.
COVID-19 Relief Scams
With new COVID-19 information being released on a regular basis, scammers have taken advantage of this barrage in communication by texting, calling, and using malicious websites to pose as health authorities or sell fraudulent products. As with other types of scams, avoid clicking directly on any links in emails (or social media posts) you're sent. Instead, use a search engine to access the websites you're looking for and keep an eye out for the encryption padlock in the URL to ensure they're legitimate.
Fraudulent Shopping Websites
During the holiday season, fake shopping websites can capitalize on having URLs that are similar to the brands they're imitating. Someone who absentmindedly clicks on a link or mistypes a URL could find themselves browsing amaz0n.com or app1e.net. These sites appear to sell legitimate, verified merchandise but are instead designed to steal customer information or sell counterfeit products.
Another type of retail scam involves hacking a legitimate retail website and redirection to a fraudulent payment site, known as formjacking. Be sure to verify the URL of the payment page to make sure you're still on the website where you ordered the product.
If you've ever gotten a pop-up antivirus ad or notification that your computer has been infected with dozens of viruses, you may be the target of a scareware attack. Scareware scammers can try to trick you into handing over your credit card information to rid your computer of viruses; others may use ransomware to gain access to your computer and blackmail you into providing them with money or cryptocurrency. To avoid scareware, it's generally a good idea to avoid clicking on any pop-up ads. Use legitimate antivirus software to preserve your computer from malicious activity.
False COVID-19 Travel Insurance
Anyone booking a trip after March 2020 is likely to wonder what may happen in the event of a COVID-related cancellation. Scam artists have seized on this as a way to offer false travel insurance that doesn't actually provide any protection. Don't purchase any insurance policy or product without carefully reviewing the fine print or running it by your insurance agent or financial professional.
Content in this material is for educational and general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
This article was prepared by WriterAccess
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