Scamming, a generic term that refers to the so-called online scams or scams through the advance payment of money, reaches a new dimension in the Internet era: more and more, cyber-criminals manage to get more victims through email and social networks and deceive them through perverse methods. The forms of online scam are varied and range from the so-called “romance scam” to the sending of emails in which money or inheritance is promised in vain. Now, what is the scam exactly? What forms exist? How do criminals act and how can one protect themselves against their threat?
What is Online scams?
Scamming is derived from the English word scam, which could be translated as “scam” or “scam.” This concept is closely related to the term of the criminology discipline, which refers to the fraud with which the payment of money is claimed in advance, but includes various online manifestations of it. In general, the intention of criminals is to make their victims pay a certain amount of money (down payment) through the use of false pretenses, after promising certain profits, the collection of inheritances or reimbursements of considerably higher amounts.
Types of Online Scams
Once the criminal has received payment of the stipulated amount, the contact is usually interrupted immediately. In addition, the offender does not keep his promise and, in most cases, the money that has been paid can no longer be recovered. Online contact is usually made through email, although media such as chat portals, instant messaging services, social networks and dating pages are also used. It should be noted that, likewise, criminals have managed to expand their actions for services such as real estate, pages to find work or second-hand cars.
This trick has been carried out for centuries by postal mail, although since 1980 the procedure became a phenomenon in Nigeria. Due to the fall in the price of oil, high inflation and poverty in this African country, some scammers resorted to the technique of sending large numbers of fake letters by post or fax to entrepreneurs in some Western countries. These were posing as workers of financial institutions that could supply the recipients with crude oil at very low prices, but with the condition of paying an advance payment. The “ Nigeria connection” has ever since developed into an essential term for scamming and, even today, there are many scam mails from Nigeria and other West African countries. The phenomenon has become a global issue, and the scammers and their victims are spread all over the world.
Real or Fake?
However, these dubious letters referred to above have become professional, that is, it is not uncommon for the attached writings to have a real appearance, to present falsified logos with precision or to try to appear as authentic as possible due to the inclusion of the personal data of the victims who have previously been subject to espionage. In this sense, web pages are created, telephone numbers are obtained and false accounts are erected on all Internet platforms with the aim that the scammers have the appearance of real people. Furthermore, public profiles on social media platforms offer illicits the crucial information to comprise details in the letters about the victims’ personal or work life. Occasionally, scam emails may contain attachments with malware that allow access to the victim’s computer data.
What types of online scams exist and how do they work?
The online scams can be manifested in many ways, but, generally, the goal of criminals is always the same: they want to get the victim’s advance payment to get some savings. They seduce them by making them believe that they are the love of their life, they are attracted to them with their heritage, with a very cheap home or with the ideal job, but for the attainment of such factors, certain services must be provided: as a rule they have to be paid a deposit in advance or pay a supposed plane ticket to carry out the first encounter of the victim.
Here is an examples that highlight the operation of online scamming:
Today, romance scam is a phenomenon that is widespread as a part of online scams. In this sense, scammers forge a close relationship with their victims through messaging services and dating platforms, give a compliment behind another and pretend to feel a supposed true love.Victims are immediately flattered and enlist in emotional independence from scammers. While these show a certain predisposition to meet the victim in question and make him believe they are excited, they first ask for money. In most cases, they claim certain payments for personal reasons and pretext that they need the money for the appointment, although scammers generally intend to buy plane tickets, cover hospitalization expenses, buy medications or feed children. They don’t exist.
Effects of Online scams
Scam romance is, for those affected in both senses, an especially painful experience. The reason for this lies in the fact that the victim is not only scammed economically, but also with regard to the emotional level. The person in question has great illusions for having found love, but scammers take advantage of the feelings and loneliness of the victim.
Unfortunately, today there are many Internet users who continue to fall into this trap and, as a result of the familiarity that is created, are willing to pay the money they are asked for. Often, online scams and these hackers make their victims believe that they have an absolutely unconditional love for them, so that they become able to pay for expensive flights or removals to meet their needs. In case of asking for money before the alleged departure, many victims often encounter certain difficulties in recovering it. Sometimes they even resort to the compassion of the victims, which makes it even more difficult for them to show their refusal to the scammers’ requests.
This trick has undergone a strong development since online dating is becoming more popular and promising. Thus, thousands of fake profiles are created daily. In the second half of 2014, the FBI counted around US $ 80 million that was transferred from the United States to romance scammers. It should be noted that this does not happen exclusively because scammers are trying harder, but because they facilitate even telephone numbers and have no fear of personal phone calls. In addition to their own, they also falsify other profiles and send friend requests so that fictitious people are not socially isolated, but rather to look like real people.