The internet has entered our lives for good and we now use it not only to collect information but also to manage our finances. Web-banking, online shopping and digital money shape a new environment that helps us make our lives easier. But it also hides several risks, such as financial online scams. So let’s look at some ways that someone can use to steal money from us through the internet and let’s keep our eyes wide open!
- Phishing: If you use internet banking services, you may receive an email stating that your account has been blocked and you need to provide your internet banking login details (username and password). The purpose is to disclose your details so that someone can extort money from you. These emails seem to come from the bank but don’t forget that no one would ever ask you to provide your password.
- Identity fraud: Someone impersonates you and uses your own personal information to steal money. For example, someone hacks your social media account and then asks for money from friends or family on the occasion of a fake traumatic story (e.g. that you were robbed or that you need money for health reasons).
- Where are the things that I bought? You buy something from the internet from a controversial site at a good price. You can pay by bank transfer and the product never comes. When you go back to the site you notice that there are no contact details or a way to claim back your money.
- Help someone transfer money out of the country: These scams are usually committed via email and state that you will be given a large amount of money if you help someone transfer millions of rupees or other currency outside their country. The catch is that in order for the transaction to take place, you are asked to first send your bank account details as well as a, not trivial, management fee.
- You received an inheritance! You receive an email stating that a distant relative of yours has died and has left a significant inheritance. Your first reaction is probably, “Wow! How lucky am I!” But is it so? Inheritance fraud is very common. Usually the fraudster claims to be a legal advisor to the deceased and asks for a deposit in order to open and manage the will.
- Whoever loves, pays! Another form of online financial fraud is the one in which an offender tries to gain the trust and love of the victim through an online chat room. Would-be fraudsters who claim to be living abroad spend a lot of time trying to gain the trust of their victim and finally ask for money under various false pretexts such as getting a plane ticket, for health reasons, etc.