Online scams such as the hsbc scam are designed for you to steal money, personal information and more. Scams can be delivered through email, text messages, chat apps, and websites that appear to be legitimate but are not.
People who are lonely can be victims of criminals who steal money and personal data by using social media to lure people into a phony friendship or relationship. Beware any offers that sound too good to true, particularly those that require payment via gift cards or money transfers.
1. Email Scams
Email scams are a form of fraud in which criminals attempt to trick people into giving them valuable information or money. This information can range from a credit-card number to a password or a Social Security Number. Criminals use various methods to get information from you, including fake emails and websites, phone calls, messaging apps, and fake websites. These scams work using the classic principles of fraud, such as something that appears too good to true, an urgency element, and a strange QR code. In most cases, you will be asked to click a hyperlink that will lead you to a site designed to steal personal information.
Attackers can obtain your email address through data leaks, fake websites, social media or public sources. Then, they use it to impersonate a trusted figure or organization and ask for sensitive information like wire transfers, cash app money transfers, or password resets. They may also ask for a loan or a favor and threaten legal action in the event you don’t pay.
Some attackers will send out many of these scams in order to gain as many victims as possible. Some may choose to target specific people, by researching them on the internet and sending them a tailored message that is tailored to their needs or interest. These attackers may be called social engineering hackers or spearphishers.
In many of the email scams that are sent, the attackers include a malicious download URL that automatically infects your computer. The attackers may also send the victim a link which redirects them to a fake website asking for personal data such as passwords and bank login credentials. This type of attack is known as email account compromise or business email compromise.
Other emails could play on the fear factor, by offering a popular product at a greatly reduced price. Or they might use scare tactics like claiming a warrant is out for their arrest if it doesn’t act immediately. Some attackers hack into the email account of a victim to gain access to previous messages, contacts and calendars. Then, they use this information to impersonate them.
2. Website Scams
Scammers create fake websites that appear authentic, but are actually used to commit fraud. These can be standalone websites, popups or unauthorized overlays on legitimate sites. Regardless of how they are presented, the goal is to get you to share sensitive information, download malware, or purchase items that don’t exist.
Social proof is often used by scammers to make their websites seem more credible. For example, they might have industry awards or certificates to lend credibility. But remember that anyone can put these on their website. Some sites may use emotional language that encourages you to act fast.
A popular online scam involves stealing someone’s identity to obtain their credit card or other payment information. Identity theft is a type of online fraud that’s growing at a rapid rate. Scammers can gather details about your personal life from social media, your bank account, and even conversations you have with real people. This makes it easier for them to impersonate you.
Another type of scam involves threatening you or your family with embarrassment or injury unless you pay ransom. Cybercriminals are known to target celebrities, politicians and other high-profile individuals.
To protect yourself from fraud, you should only use secure, encrypted connections and only buy from reputable vendors. Keep your antivirus software, browser, and operating systems updated. Use strong passwords that are unique and change them frequently if you manage many accounts.
Cybercriminals may also create fake sites to steal your personal information or passwords. They may use the phishing attack, in which they send you a false link to a fake website claiming that your password has been compromised. This type of online scam is hard to avoid because most people don’t think twice about clicking on links in emails, text messages, or social media posts.
Fake websites may also try and trick you into providing personal or financial details, such as login information for your bank account, by forcing you use non-reversible payment methods, like gift cards, cryptocurrency, or payment apps. Legitimate businesses always allow you to use traditional credit and debit card payments. Some even offer “buy now and pay later” options.
3. Phone Scams
Scammers don’t just steal money and personal data from the internet. Phone scams can be very effective, whether they are robocalls, or human callers. According to Truecaller, an app that blocks calls, consumers lose tens billions of dollars every year because of these fraudulent calls.
Phone scammers use false claims, aggressive sales pitches and phony threat to pressure people into providing money or personal information they can use to steal a person’s identity. They target older people whose trust can be undermined by dementia and other health issues. According to the Federal Trade Commission, people over 65 years old are more likely than anyone else to be targeted by phone fraud.
Some phone scams pretend to be from institutions that the consumer does business with or recognizes, such as banks, hospitals or insurance companies. You may be threatened with arrest or worse if you don’t pay the fee or provide information about your Social Security number, bank account numbers or credit/bank cards. Some scammers will try to convince you that you need help with your debt, unpaid insurance claims or tax issues. They may even pretend to represent law enforcement or government agencies.
Many of these callers ask that you send money to them in an untraceable manner, such as via gift cards, prepaid debit, cash reload, or wire service. They want you to believe they need it quickly because they’re in a hurry to avoid arrest or have a loved one get hurt. Some lure in victims by promising a “free” prize or loan.
Other phone scams fool people by sending malware via SMS text messages, which they call smishing. This can lead to ransomware, identity theft or other cyber crimes.
It is important to remember that a legitimate organization will never call you to ask for your personal information. This includes your Social Security Number, account number, or any other PII. If you receive an ostensibly bank-related call, hang up. You can find the official phone number of the institution on their website or phone book. Call them to confirm that they made the request.
4. Messaging App Scams
In a scam involving a messaging application, criminals take advantage of the features to gain your trust. Scammers may send you a link that appears to be a legitimate website and asks you for personal information, such as your username or password. Scammers can also hide malware in apps such as LINE to steal your data without your knowledge.
A common type of message app scam involves a person claiming to be from a well-known tech support company and telling you that your device has been infected with malware. The scammer will typically use scare tactics to convince you to let them remote access your device and fix it. This can include claiming your device is about to crash or that its information is at risk.
Another type of scam involving messaging apps involves fraudsters impersonating loved ones or friends to get money out of their victims. The scammers will often message you from a new number, but they may also hijack an existing account and use a tool to spoof their origin. This is called number faking.
Scammers may also impersonate family and friends on messaging apps in order to commit identity theft. Someone pretending to be your son or daughter may ask you to wire cash for an emergency. Or, they might ask you to download a game that requires your social media profile info and then take control of your account.
Scammers also use social networking and gaming sites like LINE to hijack accounts, which they can then use to steal your financial or personal data. For example, they can trick you into clicking a link to claim a prize and then steal your identity or funds. Another example of LINE scams involves the scammer claiming that they are a celebrity, and asking for your name or email address in exchange for a prize or offer.