Sometimes, well, actually a lot of times, our curiosity gets the best of us, leading to awkward moments when we realize that we were just played by a friend who plotted a prank on us. But falling for a prank is one thing, getting victimized by a scam is another, as it can lead you to become a victim of identity theft, your private information and finances compromised.
Here then are some of the most common scams you need to watch out for:
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1. Free Wi-Fi Hotspot
It’s just tempting to connect to that one Wi-Fi address that shows a strong signal, especially during times when you desperately need an internet connection and you don’t have mobile data left in your device. But, in most cases, password-free Wi-Fi hotspots you can see in public are set up by hackers who will steal data from you once you get lured into connecting to them.
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2. Helping the Prince of Nigeria
This was a large-scale scam that became prevalent across America when people still weren’t well-versed on internet scams. Basically, the scammer would send to its potential victims emails, posing as a Nigerian prince, who promises a financial windfall to those would extend help to him by sending him a specific amount as a form of “earnest money” or by providing him personal information as proof of the would-be victim’s sincerity to help. A lot of people actually fell for this, and, as a result, Nigeria gained notoriety around the world as the country that reeks of online scammers.
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There are various ways a cyber-attacker could get into a person’s device and leave it with malware that either damages the gadget or gathers personal information of the user such as passwords and credit card details. And then there is ransomware, wherein the hacker would lock the user out of their computer so that they won’t be able to access their own files unless they pay the hacker usually through bitcoin. Otherwise, the victim’s files will be destroyed.
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4. Government Lockout Scam
One could say that this is a type ransomware scam, as victims are also demanded ransom money via cryptocurrency for the release of their files. But, instead of ordinary hackers infiltrating the computer, it’s the “government” that was doing it.
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5. “Deleted” Facebook Account
This scam intends to deter Facebook users from accessing their Facebook accounts, at least before they got the account credentials they need from them. Before the victims realized that the entire thing was a scam, they would probably think of deleting their Facebook account entirely for their security’s sake.
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6. Scandalous Video Scam
The victim will receive a message saying that Facebook would be deleting their account unless they follow their instructions, which is usually to click on a link. But clicking on the link will cause a virus to be downloaded onto the device that will allow the hacker to see everything the victim types, including passwords and credit card information.
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7. Winning the Lottery
Lastly, this type of scam is often seen in many websites through ads. Scammers will tell you that you’ve won the lottery and that you should claim your prize by clicking on the ad itself, leading you to a blank webpage. As you may now expect, by doing so, you are actually letting the hacker steal your personal data. These scam messages are also sent via email or text message.