Once you get burned by milk, you'll blow on cold water. The same thing's true about getting scammed.
If you fall for a phishing attack, a spam offer, a crypto scam, or something totally different, you'll treat every new email as a potential threat. People learn from experience, and convincing others that scams are all around us is tough. Especially if they haven't been scammed before.
But it's true. Scams are on the rise, and it's important to be prepared. Here are some of the most popular ways cybercriminals want to steal your money, personal information, or crypto.
Trying to mitigate phishing attacks is like squeezing water from a stone. It's impossible. They're constantly evolving, and they play on your emotions. Email providers are constantly trying to ban specific words and phrases from emails to no avail. Scammers can pretend to be a significant company, authority, or bank and lie to steal your information.
Imagine getting an email from your bank claiming somebody tried to make an online purchase of $1000, which seems suspicious. If that wasn't you, click on a link and enter your username, password, and credit card details to confirm your details. The website looks identical, and you don't check the URL.
In the heat of the moment, you won't be thinking straight. Your bank will never ask for personal information through email. Even if you're talking to a customer service rep, they'd only need the last 4 digits on your credit card. If you confirm your information to the "bank," you'll give away your personal details to a scammer. That way, you won't lose $1000, but way more in terms of personal data and whatever's left in your bank account.
For that reason, you should use a VPN and an antivirus. Even if you mistakenly click without thinking, these programs will remind you of the possibility of a scam. A VPN iPhone subscription will also work on a PC and a Mac and can always protect your IP address. An antivirus will scan files to make sure they're malware-free.
Similarly, scammers are using vishing attacks through phone calls. They call you and pretend to be from the bank, a government agency, or a well-known company. It could be a human talking or a robot asking you to provide them with the details of your Social Security Number and credit card data. Instead of going to the right place, that information goes to hackers.
Spam messages fall into the spray-and-pray category for hackers. They send millions of emails to random addresses and pray for the best.
There's a link inside that automatically starts a drive-by download when you open the website. It could be anything from a fake 90% sale on Nike hiking boots, a fake Google Docs access request, or a Nigerian prince asking for money.
Spam emails usually have grammar errors, and the sender's address looks weird. Always check the domain from which they're sending it and whether it's an official site. For example, you can get an email from ‘email@example.com'. Treat anything that's not from the main site as an attempted cyberattack.
You swipe right and left, then see the person of your dreams. They look fantastic, their bio is funny and quirky, and you match up. The conversation starts off well, and you dig each other. You like them, and they like you back. It's like you're a match made in heaven.
Suddenly, they run into a problem. They need some money because their car broke down and they want to drive over and meet you. Or their rent is due, and their paycheck comes in three days. Or you schedule a meeting in person, and they ghost you.
Dating scams are the newest trend for cyber attackers, and they're playing on your emotions. Never send money to a stranger you've never met. Even if you meet them once, you don't know their true intentions. Be careful because you never know whether your matchup is a hacker trying to steal your hard-earned cash.
Pump-and-dump projects, rug pulls, hacks, and fake websites are quite common in the world of crypto. The technology is sound and bulletproof, but people who are new to the game often get caught up in a scam.
Bitcoin has been around for more than a decade, and it attracted the tech community first. But everyone else jumped on the bandwagon in 2021. That's why scammers stole more than a billion dollars from unsuspecting victims. You might think you're buying coins from a legitimate exchange, and it disappears tomorrow.
The FTX and Celsius scandals add fuel to the fire by showing that even the most respected people can crash and burn a company and influence a token dropping 99% in a day.
Be wary of projects that claim you can get rich quickly. Pump-and-dump schemes will try to convince you that you'll be a part of a crew to raise the price of a token and then sell when the price reaches the maximum. What you don't know is that the project owners are making their money off you in the same way. Remember that you can't get rich quickly, and anything that plays on fast money-making is usually a scam.