Meet the Victims of Online Scams 

How often have you bought something online and had the charges taken out of your account more than once? How many stories have you heard of people turning to the internet for romantic relationships and getting scammed for thousands upon thousands of dollars? Or what about those intimidating text messages claiming that you owe the government money? Humans can be an easy target for online scammers who are looking to rob us of our money, personal data, and even love.  

So, who are the real victims of online scammers? In reality it can be anyone, but according to the 2020 Internet Crime Report, those who are ages 60 and up accounted for over $966 million in total losses through online scam activities. In this digital age, staying current with the latest technology trends is inevitable and unplugging from the internet is nearly impossible. Let’s dive into some stats and solutions that will keep us scam savvy and safe online.  

Top 10 Crimes with the Highest Losses: 

  1. Business email compromise/email account compromise: $1,866,642,107 
  2. Confidence fraud/romance: $600,249,821 
  3. Investment: $336,469,000 
  4. Non-payment/non-delivery: $265,011,249 
  5. Identity theft: $219,484,699 
  6. Spoofing: $216,513,728  
  7. Real estate/rental: $213,196,082 
  8. Personal data breach: $194,473,055  
  9. Tech support: $146,477,709 
  10. Credit card fraud: $129,820,792 

Scams and COVID-19 

With the rise of the internet, especially since the start of COVID-19, scams have become more common and a lot easier to do thanks to technology. A recent report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), identified that from July to September 2020, phishing activity trends had gone up significantly.  

We’re too trusting and emails are too convincing. Sorry to say, but that email from Costco may not actually be an email from Costco. Cybercriminals target their victims by sending them emails that appear to be from a legitimate organization. In these emails victims are usually asked to click on a link where they are able to confirm personal information, such as security numbers.  

Top 5 Most-Targeted Industry Sectors for Phishing:  

  1. SaaS/Webmail: 31.4% 
  2. Financial institution: 19.2% 
  3. Payment: 13.4% 
  4. Social Media: 12.6% 
  5. eCommerce/Retail: 7.2% 

What to do if You’ve Been Scammed 

  • Call your bank or credit card company right away 
  • File a complaint with the marketplace that you purchased your item from (Amazon, etc.) 
  • File a police report 
  • Reset your passwords  
  • Update your anti-virus software 

Be Proactive – Tips to Stay Safe 

  • Check your credit reports regularly and keep an eye out for any unusual activity 
  • Don’t use the same password for all websites and services
  • If you are unsure of a website, run the address through Google’s Safe Browsing to see its legitimacy
  • If you’re purchasing from a particular site for the first time, read their reviews
  • Use PayPal for online shopping to keep your personal details private from others
  • Keep your devices updated with the latest software to protect against any viruses
  • Keep your personal information private, especially on social media. Avoid posting things that provide personal details such as birthdays, mother’s maiden name, etc. that could be used to answer security questions

Here’s how Netsweeper can Help! 

As many of us are now working from home, remote learning, and doing most of our shopping online, it is clear we have truly embraced technology. Unfortunately, this has also opened the doors to more and more cyber threats and scams, making it evident that we need to protect our network and devices now more than ever.  

Here at Netsweeper, our platform provides web security tools necessary to enforce compliance and protect users from harmful and malicious online content.  Stay a step ahead of attackers with our AI technology that scans and assigns content to categories automatically in real-time, without any human intervention.  

Protect your organization, business, and your home by restricting certain website browsing to reduce the risk of falling prey to web threats. Check out our nFilter which controls internet access, reviews online activity, and protects your network for harmful content.     

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Submitted by: Natasha Pande