While many Americans have returned to work, many employees are still working from home. Additionally, more people have been online to engage with work and shop and connect socially. Our new enlightened digital age has given scammers fresh opportunities to target you. We’ve put together a list of the top online scams in 2022.
Suspicious Retailer Online Scams in 2022
Scam: Cybercriminals are using fake online stores and stores to offer products at deeply discounted prices through online social media. At checkout, you may not even have the option to use secure third-party payment platforms, such as PayPal or Apple Pay, which means that criminals will have direct access to your information. Additionally, many scams may request payment by gift card or wire, so they are untraceable.
How to Protect Yourself: Remember that if the price of an item is too good to be true, it likely is. If the website is one you’ve never heard of, ask your family or friends and do some research on the web. For example, does the website show it’s secure (HTTPS), does it list a physical mailing address or phone number that you can verify? Is the business listed with the Better Business Bureau?
What to Do: If you purchase through a scam website, contact your credit card company or the payment platform immediately to file a complaint.
Online Dating Scams
Scam: Many cybercriminals use online social networking sites and dating apps to start conversations with unsuspecting targets, making this a top online scams in 2022. After these scammers friend you with fake Facebook or Instagram profiles, they begin to attempt to cultivate a relationship to earn your trust. Once they have gained your confidence, they’ll start to ask for funds for emergencies, such as a plane ticket to visit a dying relative or buying a gift card to help with groceries.
How to Protect Yourself:
- Remember that it’s never a good idea to send someone money, especially if you’ve never met them in person.
- Be extremely cautious about sharing too much personal information on social sites, apps or online dating sites
- Remember that the number on a back of a gift card is just like giving someone money because it’s easy for them to redeem.
What to Do: If you’ve already sent money, a wire transfer or a check through your bank, contact them immediately to stop payment. We recommend that you immediately report any fraud to the Federal Trade Commission.
Government Imposter Scams
Scam: Common online scams in 2022 include government imposters saying they are from a government agency and that you need to settle a debt immediately, pay money upfront to receive federal funds or verify your personal information. These claims often rely on fear, stating that you could lose your home, be subject to arrest or they will withhold Social Security benefits.
How to Protect Yourself: Always be cautious about any strange requests. The government will never contact you by email or phone to pay back debt with a wire transfer or a prepaid debit or gift card.
What to Do: If you are the victim of a government scam, report the incident to your local state consumer protection office immediately.
Bogus Tech Support Scams
Scam: Another common online scam is an email, phone call or a pop-up window that says your computer has malware and you need to contact tech support. While you may have legitimate pop-ups for malware, these scams are different in that they request a payment to fix the problem, or they request remote access to your computer.
How to Protect Yourself: If you think your computer is compromised, make sure to install the latest security updates. If you’re a Home Telecom customer, we offer free internet security software to all High-Speed internet customers. If you received a call from someone claiming they are with Microsoft or Apple, hang up and look up a good customer service number for these companies and call them directly. Most major computer companies will offer their own technical support. Keep in mind that software companies never initiate support calls.
What to Do: If you give someone access to your computer, immediately change your usernames and passwords.
Fraudulent Email Solicitation Scams
Scam: Unsolicited emails about purchasing cheap services, an account that has been deactivated or needs a password reset or even job opportunities to work from home could be fraudulent email solicitations. These emails usually request that you take immediate action by providing account information via a link in the email or by sending money.
How to Protect Yourself: Many security tools can help prevent fraudulent emails from reaching your inbox. However, a few may still slip through the spam filter. Never click any links in emails. Instead, go directly to the company’s homepage URL to enter your login information, check for account alerts and never give out any personal data if you didn’t initiate the communication.
What to Do: If you provided personal information online, you might want to consider freezing your credit with all three major credit bureaus. If you wired money or sent a payment, contact your financial institution immediately, as well as the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
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