SCAM: old term, new schemes
The term “scam” (derived from the term scamming) is usually used to refer to the attempts of fraud through the use of a false email. However, we also note that scam is referred to social engineering maneuvers used in some internet sites (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) where fake products or services are actually offered.
Today, it is quite common to see a huge amount of advertising related to the sale of articles and services on the two largest social networks (IG and FB). Almost all of them are usually true, but there are a significant number of them that are not, as they are advertising used to trick users to commit fraud.
In addition to the mentioned networks, widely used during the last year in pandemic, other Internet sites especially online dating sites (apps) are very popular having a huge number of users globally, and which, although it seems incredible, constitute one of the ways of predicting cybercriminals to commit scams.
Sites like Tinder, Badoo or Grindr have their dark side, as they are perfect places for scammers to employ different forms of tricks in order to take advantage of their victims. In most cases, criminals often study the profiles of their victims and collect personal information, such as their work activity, income level, or what lifestyle they like or have.
Cases of scam attempts have been reported, where criminals have requested money from their victims using various pretexts, such as:
- Buy an airline ticket or for travel expenses.
- Pay for a surgery or other medical expenses.
- Pay customs bills to send gifts.
- Buy credit for the use of phone cards.
The US Federal Trade Commission has estimated that, between 2015 and 2019, scams of this kind have been sextuplicate, and the fraud perpetrated has reached a total amount of US$210 million. It makes sense to think that, in this nearly year and a half of pandemic, that amount has increased significantly.
In addition to the “romantic” form of fraud, there are others such as fraudulent investments or incredible business opportunities. While frauds with “Ponzi” or “pyramidal” schemes are now well known, there are still a large number of people who fall into the trap losing their lifetime savings, or a very important part of them.
When tempting proposals are received when doing business online, either from a stranger, or from someone we known who invites us to participate in a supposed and “successful” business scheme, we should ask ourselves the following questions:
- Is it not too good to be real?
- The alleged benefits or interests are far superior to those of the market?
- Have you been contacted from “nowhere” or through someone you don’t know?
- Are you being asked for personal banking details or someone in your family?
- They ask you for money to start a business?
These scam types have the same basis, which is the deception about people’s good faith, beyond their methodology.
Currently, the proliferation of platforms and social networks facilitates the action of criminals, which could guarantee some anonymity, the use of one or more profiles, etc.
We need to be vigilant and keep informed our family and/or friends, especially teenagers or young people who often make new friends or partners on social networks, simply to confirm that this is not a hoax that could have non desired consequences in a future.
In @G5integritas we can help you to prevent such crimes (cybercrimes) through tailor-made trainings for your company. For more information, you can find us at: [email protected] or through: www.g5integritaslatam.com