How Can Scammers Steal Your Personal Information?

Online fraud affects more people than just consumers. Businesses are more in danger of email and online fraud due to recent data breaches at big retailers and an increase in fraudulent email cases.

Internet fraud is a cybercrime involving deceit and the use of the Internet. It may entail the concealment of facts or the provision of false information in order to defraud people of their hard-earned cash, assets, and inheritance. 

Internet fraud is a term used to describe a variety of unlawful and criminal activities carried out in cyberspace rather than a single, separate crime. However, it differs from stealing in that the victim knows and deliberately gives the offender the information, money, or property in this instance. It also differs from other crimes in that it includes criminals who are separated in time and space.

Research by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and McAfee estimates that the cost of cybercrime to the world economy is $600 billion, or 0.8 percent of GDP. Online fraud takes many different forms. Spam emails and internet fraud are also included. Even if it is largely or entirely focused on Internet usage and services, internet fraud can still happen.

Scams may occur in a variety of ways, including phishing emails, social media, SMS messages on your phone, phone calls posing as tech assistance, scareware, and more. These scams’ primary objectives might include identity theft, credit card theft, and user login and password information capture.

Internet Fraud

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Table of Contents

Types of Online Scams Where Your Personal Information Can be At Risk!

1. Remote Access Scams

A fraudster may pretend to provide a legitimate technical support service in a technical support scam, also known as a tech support scam. 

Fraudsters are contacted by victims in a number of ways, including through phony pop-ups that seem like problem alerts or through phony “help lines” promoted on websites that belong to the scammers. 

When there are no difficulties with the victim’s equipment, technical support fraudsters employ social engineering and a range of confidence techniques to convince their victim that there are issues with their computer or mobile device, such as a malware infection. 

The victim will then be convinced to pay so that the con artist may fix the bogus “issues” they claim to have discovered. Payment is made to the con artist using methods that are difficult to track down and that lack consumer safeguards that would allow the victim to get their money back, commonly via gift cards.

Remote Access Scams

2. Identity Theft

Identity fraud is using stolen or accessed personal information to conduct fraudulent activities. 

If someone is committing crimes in your name, identity theft may lead to an investigation for criminal conduct, among other outcomes. Because of this, it’s critical to understand how ID fraud might affect you.

With your personal data, con artists can:

  • Access your account and take money out of it
  • Create fresh bank accounts in your name, and get loans or credit lines
  • Contract for phone service and other services
  • Access your government’s internet services, buy expensive items under your name, and even steal your superannuation
  • To uncover additional sensitive information, look through your email.
  • Access your social media accounts and use your profile to defraud your loved ones.

According to Symantec’s 2019 Internet Security Threat Report, fraudsters are utilizing stealthier techniques and a wider range of targets to perpetrate identity theft and fraud, and nobody is safe. You are a target if you have a Social Security number. As many as 1 in 10 people are now victims of identity fraud every year, and 21% of them have been scammed more than once.

3. Romance Scams

When someone is duped into thinking they are in a love connection with someone they met online, it is referred to as a romance scam, also known as an online dating scam. 

In actuality, their accomplice is a cybercriminal who creates a false identity to earn their target’s trust and then extort or blackmail them. The following are a few of the most typical online dating scams:

  • Scam dating sites: These sites pose as reputable but are either overrun with con artists or unpopulated. These websites were developed to harvest your personal data.
  • Scams involving photos: The victim will be persuaded to provide their personal information in return for intimate pictures of the fraudster.
  • Military romance scams: Scammers will pretend to be deployed service members in military romance scams. By using military terminology and titles, they gain trust before requesting funds to pay for military-related costs like return flights.
  • Intimate activity scams: Scammers that target intimate relationships interact with their victims on several social media platforms. As they get closer, the con artist gets the victim to take off her clothes before threatening them with the recordings.
  • Code verification scams: Scammers will pretend to be a dating app or website in order to issue a phony verification number by email or text. When the victim clicks on it, a form will appear asking for personal information like credit card and social security numbers.
Romance Scam

4. Phishing

Phishing scams are efforts by con artists to deceive you into disclosing personal information such as your credit card details, bank account numbers, and passwords. 

A con artist calls you in the guise of a real company, such as a bank, phone company, or internet service provider. Email, social media, phone calls, or text messages might be used to get in touch with you.

If you provide the con artist your personal information through the Internet or over the phone, they will use it to commit fraud, including using your credit cards and taking your money.

Phishing Scam

How do Scammers Access Personal Information?

• Through Phishing

The con artist requests that you provide or confirm your personal information. For instance, the con artist can claim that the bank or organization is checking client records because a technological glitch erased consumer data. Or, they can urge you to participate in a customer survey in exchange for a reward. 

Alternatively, the con artist can inform you that “unauthorized or suspicious activity” has been detected on your account. If a sizable purchase has been made abroad, you can be informed and asked if you authorized the payment. If you respond that you didn’t, the con artist will want confirmation of your credit card or bank information so the “bank” can look into the situation. 

Sometimes the con artist may ask you to verify your identity by providing the three or 4-digit security code printed on your credit card even though they already know it.


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man thinking of scam protection

• Through Remote Access Scams

The con artist will call you and claim to be an employee of a well-known computer or communications firm, such as Telstra, the NBN, or Microsoft. 

Alternatively, they can make the assertion that they work for a technical support company. They’ll inform you that your machine has been sending errors or that a virus has infected it. They can discuss issues with your phone line or internet connection and claim that they have recently impacted the functioning of your machine. Your broadband connection may have been hacked, they may say.

The caller wants to access your computer remotely to “find out what the problem is.” The con artist can try to persuade you to pay for pointless software or service to “repair” the machine, or they might demand your personal information and bank or credit card information. 

The con artist may appear smart and competent at first, but if you don’t comply with their requests, they’ll be quite relentless and even nasty. These con artists may phone you regardless of whether you use Telstra or Microsoft products.

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Hacker on the move

• Through Identity Theft

These are the multiple methods of identity theft. 

  • Phishing: when a con artist gets you into providing your personal data.
  • Hacking: By taking advantage of security flaws on your computer, mobile device, or network, the con artist acquires access to your information through hacking. Scammers who hack into government or commercial accounts may also obtain your information.
  • Remote access: Scams using remote access coerce you into granting them access to your computer and into paying for a service you don’t require.
  • Malware and ransomware fool you into installing programs that give con artists access to your data and monitor your online activity, while ransomware demands payment in exchange for the “unlocking” of your computer or files.
  • False online profiles: The con artist creates a fake profile on a social media or dating website and contacts you through that profile as a friend.
  • Document theft: The theft of personal papers, such as utility bills, insurance renewal notices, or medical data allows scammers to access your confidential information.
  • Data breaches: The fraudster accesses your data through unintentional data breaches of commercial or governmental accounts. You might not even be aware that some of your personal data have been obtained by fraudsters.
Through Identity Theft

• Through Romance Scams

A romance scammer frequently begins on dating websites or apps. But fraudsters are starting to appear more and more on social media. 

They will start a discussion with the victim after connecting with them using a bogus profile, and they will begin developing a connection by often communicating with them. 

Once the victim begins to trust the romance scammer and thinks they are really dating, the online criminal will fabricate a tale, demand money, and then disappear.

love money

How to Avoid Being Scammed?

Regularly check your credit. Be on the lookout for unauthorized requests or questionable accounts created in your name. 

Similarly, pay attention to any notifications sent by your bank, credit card company, or other financial organization. Keep in mind that minor, exploratory intrusion efforts are frequently undertaken before a full-blown attempt to compromise your identity.

Freeze your credit. A credit freeze, often referred to as a security freeze, limits access to your credit reports and helps prevent fraudsters from creating new accounts in your name. Still, it might not be able to prevent misuse of your current accounts or some other kinds of identity theft. 

Additionally, organizations with whom you do business would still have access to your credit record. Your credit score and active credit accounts are unaffected by a credit freeze, which may be done in less than 10 minutes.

fingerprint security

Close any open financial accounts and credit cards but not being used in your name. However, before doing so, think about how it will affect your credit score, keeping in mind that a component of it can be based on how much money you can borrow overall as opposed to how much debt you have at the moment.

Make use of a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your identity, online activities, and communications from prying eyes. Many people are now employing them to safeguard their presence in cyberspace by concealing their IP addresses from other users, making their actions invisible. They were formerly used for secure connections to business networks.

Install email filtering, antivirus, and antispyware programs. Set these programs to search for potential areas of concern once every 24 hours, and ensure you are always using the most recent versions.

Visit the IRS and FTC websites. The Federal Trade Commission provides more details on protecting your identity, keeping personal information private, and, if necessary, freezing your credit. The Internal Revenue Service also produces a Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft, which gives further advice in a similar manner.

Key Takeaways!

Online fraud affects more people than just consumers. Businesses are more in danger of email and online fraud due to recent data breaches at big retailers and an increase in fraudulent email cases. 

Businesses may be protected by many of the same internet safety measures that are used for consumers.

Internet fraud is still very much a thing, and it is costing its victims a lot of money. In reality, a record 847,376 complaints of online fraud were reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in 2021, with an estimated loss of $6.9 billion. This equates to an average of over 2,300 complaints per day, or almost $8,100 per individual.

Although we don’t want you or your loved ones to disconnect from the Internet, we do want you to be secure when browsing the web. Therefore, become aware of these prevalent online scams and the preventative steps you may take to avoid them.

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Victims of scams are stressed out because they don’t know what to do. We have the tools and experience to fight off scams. We will help you in getting your money back.

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