With technological advancements, scammers are becoming more “resourceful” and “creative” in their efforts to defraud unsuspecting people. Infact, their creativity is reaching an all time high, with very careful people falling victim to their activities.
We’ve curated the many ways scammers target individuals online and made recommendations on ways to stay safe as we exist online.
1. Identity theft:
Identity theft is a major concern for everyone especially for online businesses, credit companies and banks. Hackers would usually take over the identity of the account owner and make purchases using the stolen credit card information. As long as they are in possession of the individual’s personal details such as name, address, phone number, and credit card details, they can successfully purchase what they want online at the expense of the credit card owner.
2. Friendly fraud:
Individuals committing friendly fraud make purchases on a credit card, receive the product or service then demand a refund for a lost or short-shipped order, or file a chargeback through their credit card issuing bank, with the intention of receiving a full refund of the purchase amount. Friendly fraudsters are often good at their crimes, which can sometimes make it hard for customer service to point out a fraudulent claim.
Phishing is one of the commonest frauds used to lure individuals. The attacker sends a “clean and legitimate” email, text messages containing monitored URLs links which tricks the victim into divulging his/her sensitive personal information. This information gathered would then be used to access the victims financial details such credit cards, passwords and bank applications. An extra layer of carefulness is usually required to prevent phishing as the attackers are always in disguise
Vishing is another medium used to target potential victims through voice-based attack by typically calling a user’s cell phone number to obtain sensitive data from users that could be used in monetary gain or account takeover. The visher might first send a text message to potential victims. The message might ask users to make a phone call to the attacker’s number. The best way to avoid being a victim of vishing is to ignore the suspicious messages and also be skeptical of any caller that wants sensitive information. Never give any caller sensitive information regardless of where the caller claims to work.
5. Clean fraud:
Clean fraud refers to fraudulent transactions that appear to be legitimate. Clean fraud involves stealing credit cards and using the cards to make purchases while making sure that the perpetrators can escape theft detection practices put in place by payment processors.
6. Pyramid schemes:
Pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products. As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal. Ponzi schemes easily come to mind as an example.
7. Charity fraud:
Fraudsters may take advantage of our generosity when giving to charity. They may claim to be raising money for a fake charity or impersonate a well-known charity hereby defrauding people of their hard earned money.
Fraud Prevention Practices For Individuals.
1. Be cautious of calls or emails that request sensitive information. Never give out personal information unless you know it’s a trusted and verified source.
2. Shred, tear or burn credit card, bank statements and any other documents with sensitive information on before thrashing them
3. Report lost or stolen credit/debit cards, drivers license, social insurance card, passport, etc. immediately – That way, your bank can block or cancel your card so no one else can use it.
4. Never share your PIN number or passwords with anyone and always use hard to guess passwords i.e A2CA4T$.
5. Visit legitimate websites and only shop online with reputable businesses for guarantees of value for your money
COVID-19 occurrence changed the business landscape by driving lots of consumers online. Online fraud grew alongside online spending and also increased losses for businesses. To safeguard organizations and individuals, there should be clear-cut policies and systems in place to monitor patterns and report fraudulent activities. Implementing the measures above could reduce occurrence of fraud for individuals.
Written by Temitope Bamidele with contribution from the members of the Flutterwave Fraud Team.