How times have changed? In this digital and technological age, most of the previously difficult tasks have been rendered into a piece of cake, saving time and energy. The banking sector was not left out if these advancements too. In the past few decades, what otherwise used to be tedious, or long processes that bank transactions entailed has been swiftly converted to a procedure just a few buttons clicks away.
With just the mobile phone, you can carry out transactions worth millions of dollars and none of your muscles aches yet.
Internet transactions have further been made easier since the advent of cashless money transactions. Other more advanced virtual money systems feature the cryptocurrencies and mobile wallets.
But as banking became easier, it also created an easier platform for online theft and scam to thrive. Hence, a rise in the rates of online money scams over these decades.
According to Scamwatch.au, 12,136 online scams were reported for the month of January 2020 with over $7M dollars lost to these scams. These values exclude the many other locations that may not have been featured and the cases that were not reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission(ACCC).
Here, you are going to know more ways to identify and avoid falling for online money scams. But just before then, let us see the types of scams and reasons why people fall for these scams.
Types of Online Scams
- Fake investment scams
- Dating and romance scams
- Fake online shopping scams
- Identity theft
- Inheritance scams
- Threats to life, arrests and related scams
Why Do People Fall For ScamsDespite the numerous warnings about scams, people still fall for these scammers who seem to be developing newer ways to succeed in their fraudulent enterprise. However, there are some common reasons why people fall for scams. One of them could be the failure of the victim to realise that money-making is not usually as easy as the offers portray.
Another common reason is the appeal to emotions, love or threat.
How To Know Online Money ScamsThere are some common features of online scams. Although the scammer would want to evolve to conceal their loopholes, they cannot always be totally careful to avoid revealing their deficiencies.
Here are some things to look out for to verify the authenticity of an online offer or request:
1. Do they push you to act too quickly?All they want to see you do is to transfer the money as fast as possible. They are not interested in any other thing. They would give you testimonials of people who have received their payments in a bid to lure you into sending them the money as soon as possible. Practically, you see impatience in them. But why would anyone push you too hard for something you just heard about right now?
2. Do they tell you there are no risks?Every business has its own risks. Scammers bring business offers that are too good to be true. They would tell you that there are no risks involved, that you are not going to lose anything. Any offer that is without risks should be considered fraudulent until carefully proven otherwise.
3. Is there a real business behind what they do?Money is not just a commodity that rains from the sky. Otherwise, everyone would have been wealthy already. There are schemes that have possessed this nature of not doing any tangible job but you are entitled to receive some pay. Scammers would tell you that they are responsible for all the work that is to be done and your own part is just to send the money. Thus, you are practically expected to do nothing. You need to be more careful with such offers.
4. Does it look too easy?The best successes do not actually come so easily. Offers that take virtually nothing from you, no responsibility on your part should be taken with a pinch of salt. They are usually not going to fulfil as promised or they may not stand the test of time.
5. Are the emails or messages obviously not looking good?Emails or messages from true business agencies are usually double-checked and proof-read by members of the management board or the sole proprietor if one man is involved. Seeing typographic errors in an invitation mail or message is a clear sign that something is not right with the offer. Some scammers have been able to play through this step by carefully editing their mails before sending, but when you have looked out for the other signs, you can almost never go wrong.
How To Avoid Falling For Online Money ScamsIt is almost impossible to get back money that has been lost after you have wired money to a scammer that succeeded in luring to send it over. Online wire or credit card transferred funds are readily available for withdrawal by the scammer. Such that they would withdraw it out immediately even before you get a chance to revert it.
1. Tell them to waitThis pisses them off, further revealing their true intents to you. They want you to send the money as fast as you can. Do not only tell them to wait but do give it some time to think over the offer yourself. And when you see any warning sign, never hesitate to run and never look back.
2. Do not send money to anyone you have not metFederal Trade Commission(FTC) recommends that you do not send money to anyone you have not met especially when you are not involved in any real business deal with them. FTC recommends that before you wire money whether you call it help or investment, you should think twice and never send money to them if you have not met them before.
3. Opt-in for cash transaction on a one-on-one basisOpting in for a cash transaction affords you an opportunity to get to meet them on a one-on-one basis. Even if you do not actually want to meet them, scammers would never agree to meet you in the first place. Should they agree to meet you, you must find a way to cancel the meeting but you should watch out for their reactions to the request of meeting with them.
4. Ask about the risks of the businessAsk about the risks involved. You should expect to hear that there are no risks in a scam business. They exclude the risks as a way to eliminate anything that would deter you from paying the money they required you to.
5. Never give out your personal information onlinePhishing sites get users private data by mimicking real sites that the users normally supplies such information to. You will never run into any problems if you keep your personal information from getting into the books of a fraudster.
6. Do not respond to suspicious emailsEmail scams are sent at random to as many email addresses the spammer is able to scrape from the web or social media. When you respond to them, they whitelist you for further follow-up but when you ignore, it then seems like the email never existed in the first place or is has become dormant.
7. Keep questioning themWhen you keep questioning them, they easily run out of patience and would call off the deal by themselves, thus, preventing you from wasting some of your hard-earned money.
8. Never repeat the mistakeYou may have fallen for a scammer already before you realise that the money is gone. Most scammers will not stop there. They will try other means to ensure that they milk you dry before letting you be. I've heard of certain people who wired money up to 3 times and still trying, while the scammer further confirms how stupid they truly are.
Having these precautionary tips at the back of your mind will protect you from the heartbreaking experience of losing your hard-earned money to someone who has mercilessly exploited you and your resources. Stay safe.