Some things are self-evident: the internet has revolutionized our lives by changing the way we work, learn, have fun and interact. The benefits of our networked world are many, but so are the risks - including the risk of being scammed.
Fraud has existed, of course, in various forms and extent for many, many years.
However, the Internet has given a new dimension even to the ancients tricks, greatly expanding the opportunities and especially the number of possible targets for fraudsters.
According to André Lameiras from the global company ESET digital security, scams are becoming more and more sophisticated and none of us are immune to the schemes of cyber-fraudsters who have proven to hold their own.
The more spaces we use to enjoy the benefits of the internet, the more opportunities fraudsters have to explore and exploit, whether it's inheritance scams or various types of fake scams. markets, for fake job offers, for fake sweepstakes and lotteries, and even for romantic dating scams, to name just a few of the most common digital scams you may come across.
But since we know this, why do we continue to bite the bait?
Lameiras from ESET gives us some of the most common reasons why the various tricks and social engineering methods used to extract our money are so effective.
1. Accumulated knowledge pays off
First, many types of fraud have been around for a long time, so we are talking about accumulated knowledge that is passed on to the “next generation” of fraudsters. Often, tried and tested techniques and characters are carefully crafted, and many phishing emails are designed so that you won't notice anything is wrong at first glance, at least.
2. "Our digital footprints" are used against us
Some scammers will use all available and seemingly harmless data to their advantage, monitoring your every move on the internet, usually on social media, in order to take advantage of your digital footprint. If you are not careful, the more you interact on the internet the more things scammers learn about you and can deceive you more easily.
3. Scammers are good storytellers
Many cybercriminals can create believable stories and characters that often slip away from spam. Likewise, they are quick to take advantage of current events for their own benefit, including exploiting fears surrounding public emergencies.
4. We are in a hurry
Scammers force us to act immediately, they do not want us to think things in peace. A prize will be valid for a limited time and a bill will have to be paid urgently on the same day, to name just a few examples. This will force you to make a hasty decision without looking at the full picture and verifying that the message is legitimate. In such cases, remember to take a break and think before you decide.
5. Everyone likes a free meal
Taking advantage of our financial difficulties or simply our desire for easy cash, many scammers start by offering fake gifts or including promises of skyrocketing investment returns.
6. We are programmed to obey authority
People tend to trust those in positions of power. Scammers often take on roles such as a government employee, a lawyer, a company executive or a specialist in a particular field. These are all people we have learned to trust. Scammers try to pretend to be reputable and use the names of companies or organizations that you may recognize.
7. Can be detached caution our
Scams are becoming more and more common and one can try to deceive you one day when you happen to feel sick, tired or vulnerable. As you deal with more important things, you may pay less attention to detail, opening the door to potential dangers. Scammers can even figure out when you are vulnerable and take advantage of it.
8. Scammers are focused on their goal
And it is a step forward. While you are trying to figure out if a phone number calling you can be legal, they have already set their trap.
9. We like to help
Scenarios that involve calling for help make us feel emotionally attached to the scammer or to the people the scammer claims to represent. For example, a story about personal tragedy or emergencies for the public is effective. Even if we know in the back of our minds that this may not be a true event, we still want to help "just in case". Scammers realize that people want to feel useful.
10. Scammers are emotionally identical
If you happen to be the victim of a romantic scam, the scammer will usually take the time to gain your trust, making you feel that he understands you and trying to figure out how far he can go.
What to do if you are deceived
According to ESET's André Lameiras here are some things we can do if we fall victim to fraud:
• If it is a social media scam, contact their support center; if it is a store fraud, contact your service provider to report the scam and ask for help.
• If it is about money, call your bank and let them know.
• Do not make any payment to receive a "prize" or "prize".
• If you are promised future financial gains in the stock market or from Bitcoin, do not pay your "taxes" in advance.
• Change all your passwords in case the scammer has your personal information.
• Check them out settings απορρήτου στα μέσα κοινωνικής δικτύωσης. Περιορίστε ποιος μπορεί να σας κάνει tag σε photos and comments.
• Report the fraud to the relevant authorities. For example, in Europe you can start by visiting by clicking here Cyber First Aid.
In closing, do not take for granted that you will not fall victim to fraud. Anyone can be a scammer, no matter how smart and familiar with the technology.