Looking after your financial health these days is not just about watching what you spend and staying out of debt. While those things are important, it is also essential to think about staying safe online when dealing with financial matters. Online financial scams are growing increasingly.
We all use online methods for many tasks now, from banking over the internet to catching up with friends on social media or searching for goods online. Being present online though can leave you open to various financial scams that have been developed by criminals. If you become a victim they can steal your sensitive personal and banking details and leave you with a big hole in your finances. It is therefore imperative to keep your guard up when doing anything online and always trust your instincts. As the old saying goes, if it looks too good to be true then it usually is.
Staying financially safe when online is very important. It is wise to know about the most common financial scams, so here is a list of some you may encounter.
The Increase in Online Financial Scams
Financial scams can put you in a really difficult position. With so much internet usage, online financial scams are constantly growing. Below is a collection of the ones that many people come across in their daily lives.
There is no doubt that the Forex market is legitimate and has many reputable brokers who you can trust. Unfortunately, it is also a market that has financial scams executed to trap unwitting victims. Being deceived by one can mean you being seriously out of pocket, so keeping an eye out for any sort of forex scam is highly advised. But what do you need to be looking for in this area when investing your money?
You should be very careful about which online broker you sign-up with because you are going to trust them with your personal details. There are some scammers out there so:
- stick to the well-known names
- check out online reviews before dealing with them
- trust your instincts
If a broker just doesn’t feel right, give it a miss! As well as this, you should also look for online fraudsters offering training courses or trading systems who merely take your money and run.
The Nigerian 419 scam
One of the oldest and most commonly seen online financial scams is this one. It originated from Nigeria where scammers there made over $10 billion from it over a 5 year period. This is one scam that uses email to operate although social media is now also used. It has someone pretending to be wealthy that is requesting help to access the money they have in a bank account somewhere. Here is how the scam initially works:
- The scam promises you a cut of this money if you help them get their hands on it
- Your ‘help’ will involve sending them money to help with so-called transaction fees and the like
Eventually, they stop getting in touch and you will be left severely out of pocket!
Phishing has grown to become a widely seen con. It is another one that mainly uses email to target its victims. As the name suggests, the fraudsters simply get in touch to fish for sensitive information or personal details. Once they have gotten your information, they can:
- steal your identity
- empty your bank account
This scam is also seen a lot in business when scammers gain access to passwords and steal company data. A CNBC report found this scam alone cost people over $5 billion in the period 2013 to 2016. This scam works by sending emails that look like they are from a trusted source and they can be very convincing.
Fake antivirus software
Most people know that having up to date antivirus software is key to staying safe online. Scammers have started to use this against us though by employing fake software to infect computers. What usually happens is that a pop-up window will appear on-screen to tell you that your computer is at risk and you need to click on the link contained to update your protection. Of course, this is a fake message and you should close it right away without clicking anything else. If you do not, then your PC could be infected with Malware or Ransomware.
Stay vigilant and stay safe
By far the best way to beat the scammers is to always:
- Be on the lookout
- Never open messages or click on links that come from an unexpected source
Even if it looks like a reputable company has contacted you, never give out any details or follow email links. Instead, contact them with information you know is correct to verify the communication. By keeping your wits about you, you can protect your money from being stolen online.
Online financial scams can be a tough peril to deal with because it can take up so much of your time and money. No one wants to deal with that. However, in order to avoid the problems, you have to know what the common causes are so you can prepare yourself. As long as you protect your information and update yourself on the common financial scams out there, you can keep yourself safe. Remember, your information is important and should be protected in every way possible.
Have you ever dealt with online financial scams? Do you have security measures in place to counteract online financial scams?
AUTHOR LaTia Longuemire
My name is LaTia Longuemire. I enjoy writing, singing, and cooking in my spare time. My passion is helping others. At this stage in my lifetime, I'm primarily focused on my children. They are everything that keeps my world spinning.