Scams have existed for longer than the internet has existed. Preying on internet users’ curiosity, sympathy, fear, and greed. Some internet scams, like phishing and the dreaded “Nigerian prince” email, have existed for decades, but are increasing in sophistication.
Since the net continues to expand into every part of society, online scams are just growing harder and harder to detect.
Scammers will set up phishing sites, online scams that prey on various aspects that drive us like empathy, fear, and greed- and exploit that for their personal gain.
What scams that are online have all in common is that they prey on their viewers’ naïveté and ignorance.
Among the online scams that are most widespread is phishing. In 2016, depending who you ask, phishing at most derailed Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, and in the least, revealed her campaign director’s delightful recipe for creamy risotto.
Phishing, when effective, tricks the user into handing over their passwords frequently through emails purporting to be from businesses that are trusted. The endgame is the acquisition of information, like social security numbers and credit card details.
According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, almost 100,000 efforts of phishing are reported every month worldwide.
The only way we can work to lower this number and fight against phishing scams is to understand how these scams work and identify the signs early.