By Markus David
Director of Professional Services
Most of us have come across frauds that are so obvious, it is amusing. Their messages may be riddled with spelling errors and poor syntax, their design may be amateurish, and yet they will insist that they can double our money in a few days with binary options.
Unfortunately, not all frauds are this obvious or unsophisticated. Illegal online schemes are big business. According to the FTC, in the last year, $80 million was lost in online investments, a tenfold rise from the previous year.
With this much money in the illegal scheme “industry,” those who are behind them can make enough cash to fund their next venture with cutting-edge technology and serious innovation behind their efforts.
The result is that those running illegal activities are upgrading their technology to stay ahead of investigators. That is why it is always important to stay aware of new strategies they use and technology in an effort to stay safe, track down the people behind them, and hopefully, recover funds.
If you have lost money to forex and crypto schemes, speak to our professionals who can assist you in efforts to retrieve your funds. MyChargeBack gives guidance to consumers who are trying to recover their funds from merchant disputes, crypto scams, or other types of fraud. Talk to MyChargeBack professionals and get started on fund recovery.
Social Engineering Creates a False Sense of Security
Consumers are often ready to hand over their sensitive information if they feel they trust the sender. Social engineering is a method used to create a sense of trust with a target of fraud.
We have all come across examples of this. For instance, you may receive what seems to be a communication from your bank saying that they have noticed irregular activity in your account. This can be through an email or a text. The email may include what looks like a letterhead with the bank’s logo and it may be formatted similarly to their usual communications.
The email or the text may contain a link that will supposedly take you to your account. What will actually happen is that you will sign in with your username, password and other data and will be giving that data away to a cyber-criminal.
Another example of social engineering occurs when someone pretends to be an employee at the same company, usually in the tech department. They will contact an employee and say they need their passwords, sensitive data or access to their device. Then, they can easily infiltrate accounts and steal money or execute frauds. This was the method used by the 17 year old who hacked into the Twitter accounts of Barack Obama and Bill Gates (among many others) and used their identities to advertise a bitcoin fraud. This story demonstrates why any request for information and access should be confirmed and verified first.
Ransomware as a Service
Software as a Service (SaaS) companies like Netflix are more popular than ever and unfortunately, the operators of online frauds have learned to imitate this service for their own illegal ends. Legitimate-seeming services often turn out to have malware including ransomware. Once the customer has subscribed to this service, they unknowingly install ransomware on their device.
Ransomware in general is becoming a major threat to services such as utilities, hospitals. Cybercriminals gain access to a system or network and stop the service until the owners send money through cryptocurrency. This is what happened in the high-profile Colonial Pipeline case in May 2021.
Ransomware, once installed into the system, can put a halt to all services until demands are met. However, the story ended with a nearly full recovery of the $4.4 million that was paid.
Just One Click
There is no need to charm someone on the phone and finesse your way into getting private information from them. This method is still used but is often meant to target older people who may not be as comfortable using technology.
A social media or WhatsApp message or email may seem legitimate, and it can seem like the easiest thing in the world to simply click without thinking about it. However, the consequences of this click can be severe. Just one click or download can give a cybercriminal complete access to an account or device.
Convenience without Safety
Those who remember the early days of the internet may recall how long it took to start up a computer, download a file or install the software. One reason for the success of online services is the convenience they provide. However, the mentality of expecting things to be delivered quickly and conveniently can lead consumers right into the arms of online frauds.
Getting in the habit of stopping, taking a minute and verifying that communication is genuinely from the right organization or company is essential for avoiding becoming the target of many types of fraud.
Trading apps seem to provide direct access to the markets and quick trading, but consumers also need to remember that apps that offer financial services need licenses just like brokers do. Unfortunately, many consumers do not check for a license the way they would for investment firms and money managers. Demanding no less in terms of regulation and security from trading apps is a key to safer investing.
Staying Safe from Online Fraud
The following are important tips to remember to stay safe online:
- Trade only with regulated financial services
- Always verify any communication asking for sensitive information
- Be careful before clicking any link or downloading a document
- Use high-quality antivirus software and upgrade it regularly
- Avoid extravagant claims from brokers or trading services
- Make sure any apps or websites use encryption
- Take your time and check everything
If you have lost money to an illegal scheme, seek fund recovery assistance right away. Consult with MyChargeBack experts and get started with your fund recovery claim. We have extensive working knowledge and relationship with regulators as well as the dynamics of crypto recovery and can improve our prospects of getting your money back.