The purpose of this post is to provide tips to protect yourself from frauds and scams.
I am constantly amazed to read about people who fall for frauds and scams. I periodically receive text and email messages about opportunities to make additional income and wonder “Who would fall for this?”. Apparently, many people.
My daughter recently received the following phishing email.
Fortunately she had enough sense not to respond. It also helps she does not understand French!
She also periodically receives emails indicating an email money transfer is awaiting her acceptance. Given that she is not familiar with the sender, she does not action the request. Judging from the statistics I have read, however, many people follow these email instructions.
Every year, Verizon releases its Data Breach Investigation Report. The number of phishing attacks is staggering!
Phishing is the practice of tricking people to hand over their credentials or access to protected systems. Typically, phishing campaigns consist of a huge email blast which contains links or attachments. Click a link in the email and you are taken to what appears to be a legitimate website which prompts you to enter your credentials.
More sophisticated attacks consist of emails in which you click a link or attachment. Once you do this a piece of malware is installed which compromises your system or network.
A study of 150,000 phishing emails by Verizon partners found that:
- 23% of recipients open phishing messages
- 11% open attachments
- 1 in 10 people open an attachment not knowing the contents of the attachment.
In addition, roughly two-thirds of electronic espionage cases can be traced back to phishing.
One of the mind boggling statistics is that it takes an average of 82 seconds from the time a phishing campaign is launched until the first recipient actions the email instructions.
And phishing doesn’t just target people’s Gmail accounts. It also happens on sensitive business and government accounts!
List of Frauds and Scams
Phishing is only one fraud and scam. Criminals do not restrict their methods of extracting money from innocent parties to just one method.
Look at this list of scams!
- Lotteries, sweepstakes and contests
- Pyramid schemes
- Money transfer requests
- Internet scams
- Mobile phone scams
- Health and medical scams
- Emergency scams
- Dating and romance scams
- Charity scams
- Job and employment scams
- Small business scams
- Service scams
Resources to Protect Yourself from Frauds and Scams
If you are a victim of fraud, report it to the proper authorities and spread the word.
Here is a list of valuable resources.
- Government of Canada Competition Bureau: The Little Black Book of Scams
- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Scams and Frauds
- US Government: Scams and Frauds section
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Scams and Safety
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: Consumer Protection section
- Australian Federal Police: Frauds and Scams
- Metropolitan Police (UK): Fraud Alert
- Fraud Aid, Inc.: Scam Victim Solution Center: How to Choose the Right Jurisdiction for Your Fraud Report
Here are steps to avoid becoming a victim:
- use common sense;
- become knowledgeable about different forms of frauds and scams;
- learn what protective actions you can take.