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How COVID-19 Pandemic Fueled Online Scam Culture; Ways To Safeguard Yourself
The coronavirus outbreak is tagged one of the worst pandemic situations for the entire globe in the last few decades. The world came to a standstill situation for several months. Even almost a year later, with the virus outbreak and the scarcity of vaccines, we aren't entirely safe. Not just healthcare but other major industries also took a major blow due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of all, what raises concerns for the general public is the increase in cyberattacks.
We have come across numerous incidents of online scams some with cyber attackers using modern technologies to commit the crime. And throughout the last few years, these attackers have improvised with advanced technology and are using multiple ways to scam users in India and across the globe.
The incidents have surged with the major shift of Indian users towards digital payments, which undeniably was the most used payment option during the COVID-19 pandemic in India. What are the ways these cybercriminals wield to scam you, and how can you keep yourself intact from such cyberattacks? Read on to know:
Online Scams You Should Be Aware Of!
Phishing Attacks Via Identity Impersonating
The prevalent forms of cyberattacks in recent times have been reported as identity impersonating and thefts. It is the most common scenario where a user gets a call from scammers posing as customer care or bank officials.
In such cases, the scammer will try to dupe you by getting hold of your crucial banking details and eventually sharing the OTP (one-time-password) that might empty your bank accounts.
Your Distant Cousin Or Acquaintance Could Be A Scammer
It is one of the new methods used by scammers targeting the general public to steal money. Often, an attacker would contact you via any social media platform or sometimes even directly on your mobile, impersonating one of your distant cousins or acquaintance.
They might cook up any situation like any medical emergency or others and request money promising a return back soon. If you got a request on any social media platform, chances are you will be looking at a duplicate profile with the same posts as the original account. However, once you send the money you will be blocked or might not see the duplicate account.
Lucrative Shopping Deals From New Websites: Beware!
This is another technique being used by cybercriminals to dupe the general masses and steal their money. In this case, fake websites selling different kinds of consumer goods are advertised on social media platforms and other online portals.
To grab a user's attention, these fake websites are updated with the cheapest deals one can imagine for any product. However, unwary of the situation, users land themselves in a trap thinking these websites and the shopping deals are authentic. The money deducted from your account is just to surf the fake website and not the product your purchase.
Fake Cashback And Prize Money Scams
It is one of the most common scams targeting digital wallet and UPI app users across India. You'll receive a text or a call from fraudsters offering cashback or announcing you as a winner of some lottery or random schemes.
Once the scammer gains your confidence, you will be lured to enter some reference number in the digital wallet app; which generally is the amount these scammers are trying to steal from your account. In other scenarios, you will be asked to deposit some amount to register for the prize or cashback offer.
Why Did COVID-19 Pandemic Became Jackpot For Scammers?
Several factors contribute to this situation where the number of attacks being carried out by the scammers has surged exponentially during the pandemic. The business ramping down all across and slow economic growth was already a worrisome situation and these attacks just add to the concerns.
One of the biggest factors, which we believe, is the increasing dependency on social media platforms and other online services such as digital payments on the remote working module. All these require different apps and tools used unethically by the cybercriminals to target the users across.
We already have mentioned a few of the ways above. The scammers are easily able to con innocent users some of who might not be technically savvy and easily fall prey to such petty thefts.
What Can You Do To Avoid Being Victim Of Such Online Scams?
All these cybercrimes aren't just limited to the pandemic period. These attacks will keep on happening until you take up the charge yourself and are vigilant of such fake calls and messages. Make sure if you receive any such calls you don't share any personal banking information or OTP.
Look out for fake shopping websites, you don't always get a lucrative deal online. It is rather advised to shop from well-known online retailers. Also, avoid clicking on any malicious or unauthorized links. Do that if you have a trusted source. All these small steps will keep you at bay from any cyber attack and safeguard your hard-earned money.