Hackers Use of Risky Scams

Cybercriminals deploy a number of scams through the web and on the phone that target individuals daily. In recent years, hackers were most successful with online shopping, tax collection, home employment, tech support, and travel/vacation fraud, as most people are easily persuaded in those life situations. However, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker, employment fraud tops the list of the riskiest scams in 2018. And even though younger generations are at higher risk of being victimized, it’s the older folks who tend to lose more money. So, how does this scam work?  How is it that thousands of people are continuously fooled into emptying their bank accounts or giving away their identities?

Targeting Victims via Internet

The BBB found that websites were the most successful form of contact that resulted in the highest monetary loss. This should come as no surprise considering the ample amounts of time we spend on computers and mobile devices at work, in transport, and at home. As such, hackers have turned to purchasing personal information from companies that track their user’s web traffic and data to gain a better sense of interests, hobbies, and lifestyles. They then use this legitimately gain data to steal from people.

Calculated and incredibly enticing, hackers create scams that are perfectly tailored to fit our criteria. For instance, a new home owner searching for affordable furniture might start receiving emails or ads advertising those products, which would certainly grasp his or her attention. The goal of the hacker is to get the receiver to engage. It only takes the click of one malicious link to transfer that person to an unsecure site created by the hacker. Though it may look authentic, the website is likely connected to a scam. The website most likely contains code that will store credit card information. The data is then transmitted to a hacker owned server.

Increasingly Dangerous Internet

As the internet enables us to search for a multitude of things, it’s also widely used for job hunting. The BBB urges web users to practice sound judgement and due diligence before providing highly sensitive information to unknown online businesses. This is becoming a harder thing to do, especially for someone looking for an opportunity they can grab.

Employment fraud could leave a person thousands of dollars in debt and cost them their identity. One chance to lower risk is by researching the company. A perspective job should try and speak to human resources and refraining from sharing W-2 forms or bank statements until after an interview has occurred. Job that are too good to be true usually are indeed that. A job seeker should always ask themselves what the potential is of them being miraculously blessed.  The truth is great opportunities are had through a process and not just supplying personal data.

Staying Ahead

Though we are continuously warned and educated about hackers lurking on the internet, the growing number of victims of identity theft is alarming. So, remind yourself daily of a few tips that should be considered before completing a transaction or providing any sensitive information to a potential employer.

  1. Trust your gut- Don’t be distracted by the “deal of the year” message, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be naïve, go with your gut.
  2. Don’t feel rushed, pressured, or intimidated to make a decision – Anything that’s worth it, takes time, and anything that’s meant to be, will happen. If that company really wants you to work for them, I’m sure they’ll understand you wanting to meet in person before handing over your direct deposit information.
  3. Do your due diligence – Research the company to validate its existence. Read customers reviews of the product in question. Confirm that a typical email from the government ends with “.gov”, not a “.net” or “.com.”

Hackers will go to any measures to steal your information because it means dollars for them. They are attempting to feed their needs just like you are by gaining better employment. The difference is that you are the raw material for their product. And, with your data hackers have what they to complete their next job.

Using scams is just one of the effective hacker tactics. Your using a little common sense will go a long way in protecting the things you have worked for or own. Resiliency starts with personal responsibility.  There are no internet police so be in control of your cyber presence by following best practices, sound tips and guidelines.

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