5 Ways to Avoid Online Scams in 2023: What You Need to Know

Picture this. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received nearly 792,000 reports of suspected online crimes in 2020 alone. That was a colossal jump from just under 300,000 complaints in 2016, five years earlier.

The FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Report showed that the dizzying numbers also lead to a record $4.2 billion in losses through various online scams.

Now imagine this.

The IC3 report showed that cases skyrocketed between 2019 and 2020, increasing by 325,000 complaints and $700 million.

These internet scam statistics point to an exponential increase in the number of online scams involving ever larger sums of money.

With internet scams becoming more prevalent, how do you protect your financial life from ruin?

Here are five ways to avoid online scams based on new statistics.

1. Avoid sending money to people you just met

Romance scams have been the most prevalent and expensive for the past three years.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also showed that the average amount of money people lost to online romance scams was $2,500 in 2019.

People trying to find love on social channels and online dating apps/sites lost over $300 million in 2019 alone.

Victims told the feds that scammers who applied for financial support appealed to their compassion and made promises to pay them back, but never did.

Scammers also avoided face-to-face meetings, taking advantage of the pandemic’s social distancing recommendation to avoid revealing their true intentions.

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Therefore, you’ll want to avoid sending money to new friends and acquaintances in the hope that they’ll pay or like them.

2. Meet in an open and friendly area

What does an open and friendly area look like in real life?

  • Choose a public meeting place.
  • Avoid carrying cash if you are expecting a purchase delivery. Instead, prefer to make payments with your phone, not even with a credit card.
  • The goal is to avoid showing signs of cash, so you won’t encourage a criminal to commit fraud with your data.
  • Also, invite a friend along, especially if you’re meeting someone for the first time.
  • Refuse any invitation to pay in advance on behalf of a seat reservation at a restaurant or other venue. Do this by hovering over a link in a message. See if the popup link matches the sent link.
  • If they are different, leave it at that. It may be a scam link.

Use reverse lookup sites to find out who they are

  • You can look up someone’s number using reverse lookup sites. You can check the identities of unknown callers by doing a reverse phone number lookup.
  • Or you can do a quick or more detailed background check on someone to make sure they are who they say they are.
  • Major reverse lookup services may provide more details attached to a particular phone number, email, or physical address.
  • However, legitimate reverse lookup websites use publicly available information according to rules outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • After all, you don’t want to engage in illegal searches, stalking, or be tempted to violate someone else’s privacy with the information you’ll collect.

Some of that information includes:

  • Find out if there are phone scams related to that number
  • Arrest and criminal record
  • Name and address of the owner of the number
  • Alternative phone numbers
  • Marriage or Divorce Records
  • property records
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That is powerful information.

4. Reverse Lookup Images

In 2020, many scammers found refuge by hiding behind screens and avoiding physical contact.

Others scraped images online to create pseudo social media accounts.

They would then use the fake accounts to woo unsuspecting victims until they walked away with sums of money.

One way to avoid falling into that trap is to perform a reverse image search online to discover more details, such as where they came from, associated social media accounts, and other online presence.

How do you do a reverse image search?

It’s a perfect step when using a laptop or desktop computer. Connect to the Internet to search for an image on Google.

  • Type images.google.com in the URL space
  • Click or tap the camera icon

  • Drag the image from the other window if you have it open in a separate browser window. Or click Upload an image to get it from your computer storage.
  • Alternatively, copy the online URL of the person’s image and paste it in Paste Image URL.
  • Click Search by Image

The result: The search results will show images related to the one you uploaded or searched for. Or you can find similar photos.

Is that what you want.

Now compare the different images to see if there are any inconsistencies.

Keep in mind that if you can’t find any more similar photos that point to a real person’s online presence, you don’t want to continue that relationship. Similarly, you can also perform reverse phone number lookups.

5. Keep all your cards close to your chest

You don’t want to reveal personal information, not to your friends, not to your colleagues at work, not to that cool circle you’ve wanted to be a part of for a long time.

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The top online scams in 2020 involved stolen personal information:

  • Phishing scams targeting the growing number of people working from home
  • Non-delivery scams that victimized online shoppers who preferred to shop from the safety of their homes
  • Direct extortion involving threats about the exposure of personal information already acquired

You know better than to show your social security number, credit card details and consumer credit information.

But did you know that giving out your full name, personal phone number, and email addresses can lead you to an Internet scam?

If you use dating apps and sites, take note. The report shows that you are more likely to reveal such details as you build a relationship with a potential lover.

So take it easy. Keep your financial life out of the romance scene until such time as you know a lot more about the other person and have met face to face separately.

For example, you can mention that you have a job or business. But save how much you earn, loan payments, property, and deep financial plans to yourself.

Wrap

Internet crime reports have tripled in recent years.

They hit an all-time high in 2020 when COVID-19 scams were rife, including fake online jobs, payment/non-delivery scams, and more.

Still, you can avoid online scams when you know what to do and are proactive about it.

Start by not sending money to people you don’t know well. Then use the top reverse lookup websites to verify phone numbers, addresses, emails, and even shared images.

Also, keep any information that identifies you private.

Categories: How to
Source: vtt.edu.vn

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