Now that the internet is the go-to place for various requirements and needs, scammers have proliferated everywhere. Online scammers have seen an exponential increase in the the number of victims(both potential and actual)
According to research, an increase of 40% in online scams can be expected in 2021. A lot of countries including Kenya report that online fraud is becoming the most reported crime. There are a plethora of online scams as these scammers keep coming up with inventive ways to defraud online customers. Today, we will list 10 plus scams that netizens ought to keep an eye for.
One of the biggest scams affecting Kenya is the scourge of fake stores claiming to sell items such as electronics at extremely low prices. Data suggests that these stores originate predominantly from China and India. However these sites conceal to varying degrees to conceal the countries that they are incorporating into. Truth be told, online shopping is becoming a nightmare for Kenyans.
Ordering from these fake websites often turns out to be the worst experience for many Kenyans. The mode of operation is to copy images from legitimate websites and advertise them heavily on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and even Google. It becomes hard for Kenyans to discern whether the images are real or fake.
Even paying through relatively safe means such as PayPal is not immune to these scams, as the scammers deploy various tricks to not pay refunds. They usually give fake tracking numbers to show PayPal that the product has reached its destination.If the buyer disagrees, they usually offer a partial refund, which is in any case profitable to the scammer.
These come in the form of emails, calls and messages that usually impersonate a legitimate organization.You may receive an email from ‘MasterCard’ that there is a problem with your bank account that needs to be resolved immediately, the real purpose of this is to steal your login credentials.
Phishing scams are easy to avoid if you are vigilant. You need to double check if the message or email has an official email ID and check whether you are being redirected to the company's real website. You should never click links in messages and emails. You should visit the website by logging in the original website. Statistics show that more than 90% of Phishing is usually through email.
Ponzi and Pyramid Schemes
Most of the investment opportunities available on the internet are usually scams, while investments through legitimate means should generate at most 15% per year, scammers offer the same kind of returns on a daily or at most on a weekly basis.The idea is to ‘rob Kamau to pay Onyango’. In the case of Ponzi schemes, scammers pose as Forex, or Cryptocurrency experts. Payments are required to be made through cryptocurrency, making it impossible to recover the money once you have paid.
The case is the same as Pyramid schemes, however ‘investors’ should bring at least two or more people to invest in the scheme. Investors are indirectly bribed to trap more unknowing individuals through receiving commission for every deposit made by their referrals.They usually use pseudo accounts on Facebook or run through online ads. For example when you see that conspicuous ‘ask me how’ through GIF or AIM global, that is usually a fraudulent investment opportunity.
The only money coming into the ‘projects’ is from the ‘investors’ since the company does not offer any tangible service
The revenue dries up and the operators of the scam disappear with everyone’s money.
These usually come in two main ways. The first is that someone messages you on Twitter or Facebook and over the course of 2 days, they claim to have fallen in love. They can string the victim for a few weeks or months and then start demanding money. The red flag to be aware of is if they keep avoiding you on video chat or refuse to meet in person.
The other kind of dating scam is where a dating app or website may pay people to chat with the opposite sex. The person on the other end will pretend to be romantically interested and request the user to make various in-app purchases or upgrade their subscription.The concept is to make the person looking for love spend as much money as possible on the platform.
These scams involve getting users to share their credit card information or bank details in exchange for a free trial. People neglect to read the print which might state that they are agreeing to subscribe to a service. You usually months later that you are being billed regularly. Cancelling the subscription is incredibly difficult since the company is usually un-contactable.
You can cancel your subscription by requesting your bank to stop any further charges, but the amounts deducted from your account can not be recovered.
Work From Home Scams
Work from home scams saw huge increase because of the Pandemic, as many people lost their jobs. Desperate unemployed are easily the target of these scams. They usually promise high paying jobs with bare minimum requirements. However, things usually go south when they demand an advance fee such as ‘account management fee’, ‘account upgrade fee’ or ‘Membership fee’.
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