Online privacy and security is a major concern today, with people becoming more and more dependent on the Internet. Terms like phishing, identity theft, and many others have become synonymous with the Internet and are responsible for giving Internet users sleepless nights. Fallout of these threats is that, today we have to spend a lot of time and resources to secure our online activities. Today every institution, be it banks, schools, research institutes, financial firms, et al, are adopting security measures like sending regular security updates via e-mails to their respective stakeholders to keep them posted on and protected from such online frauds.
Importance of identifying online frauds
The Internet is the most powerful and easiest way to reach out to a mass audience. A specialty it posses is that, it is a cheaper mode of communication and gives access to the vast information spread across the Web. With minimum effort, it allows you to send a link, e-mail etc., to just about anybody. This capability of the Internet is used by fraudsters to scam people. They design authentic looking messages, using logos of genuine companies and brands, as well as testimonials of prominent peoples, to dupe the receivers of these mails. Crooks are taking maximum advantage of the loopholes existing in cyberspace to make money and blackmail their rivals. New cyber frauds are emerging almost every day and with things like domain spoofing, it’s getting almost impossible to distinguish between reputable online sellers and cyber criminals. It gets difficult for a common Internet user to distinguish between a genuine e-mail and a fraudulent one. However, you can cut down the risks by a large margin if you stay aware and take precautionary measures, like installing a powerful antivirus program on your system, and by avoiding unsolicited links, to mention a few. You will do well to guard against e-mails received from an unknown source and in case you do respond to such mails, don’t forget to do a background check.
Popular forms of online fraud
‘iYogi Fraud Alerts’ series discusses about some of the most common and prevalent online frauds. Some of these frauds being Work-at-home fraud where one is tricked to believe that large sums of money can be earned by simply working from home, Charity fraud where fraudsters fool you in the name of collecting donations, Credit card fraud scams merchants and businesses through fictitious credit cards payments during online transactions, Internet Auction frauds that target buyers and sellers on Internet auction sites and cause victims huge losses by not delivering the promised amount after the transactions have taken place, and many more. iYogi aims to highlight all the popular ways that fraudsters use to appear genuine so that they can gain your confidence before finally deceiving you. To know more about such frauds and how to stay safe from them, you can visit the iYogi website.
Apart from the scams discussed so far, other serious scams include online investment letters that spread false information to promote worthless stocks, online bulletin boards where fraudsters use online discussions to gather sensitive information of a company, pump and dump schemes that display messages urging readers to buy a stock quickly, Junk e-mails that traps you with convincing incidents and information, etc.
What needs to be done?
- To cross verify the source when you see a tempting offer, as there are no free lunches in this world.
- It’s good to be skeptical when you get an offer from an unknown sender or a stranger. Ask yourself: Why me? What benefit is he/ she getting out of it?
- Always ask for company details or brochure and read through carefully.
- Ask questions and check out the answers.
- Be cautious of unsolicited offers, e-mails, and links.
- Always use your spam filter to minimize the frequency of fraudulent e-mails in your inbox.
- Change your online passwords often and only keep strong passwords.
- Update your antivirus and anti-spam software to make it difficult for fraudsters to access your data.
- Avoid mentioning middle names or date of birth on social networking websites.
Red flag warnings of fraud
It is said that prevention is better than cure. We advises not just to play safe while surfing the Internet but also that the user stays aware of any alarming signals. Thus, if an e-mail or an offer looks too good to be true, it is advised to take help from people who are more capable of dealing with these sort of things. Don’t get tricked by eye-catching websites, as they may be purposely made appealing to fetch your attention. Also, never make the mistake of sending money to any unverified source. Don’t hesitate to investigate the authenticity of any claims.
Fraudsters are expert in gaining your confidence and presenting things in an authentic manner. So iYogi recommends you to treat all unsolicited investment and online transaction opportunities with extreme caution. An online fraud can come in different forms, for e.g. it can be through an e-mail, phone call or fax. It is advisable not to mention your contact details anywhere on the Web until and unless you are sure about the authenticity of the website and it is absolutely required. Never disclose personal or bank related information like: account numbers, credit card and check numbers, social security number, IDs and passwords, secret question’s answer, date of birth or any other sensitive information.
You must realize that fraudsters are using more and more sophisticated methods to lure you in. Fraudulent e-mails and websites frequently include images and logos of some reputed organization to give them an authentic look and feel. These days it’s not that difficult to copy or steal someone else’s logos and images. So, you must realize that the mere presence of a logo or corresponding images don’t speak anything about its authenticity. Such mails or notifications normally have incorrect grammar or may include misspelled words, so lookout for them.
Based on iYogi’s extensive research, it has been found that fraudulent e-mails consist more of sensationalist or emotional language and are mostly not addressed to you specifically.
How iYogi helps you deal with these scams?
iYogi realizes the kind of trouble users face due to these scams and hence has decided to launch a scam/ fraud alerts series to educate its consumers worldwide to help them from falling prey to these troubles which can be avoided with a little more alertness. iYogi is committed to help its customers to keep their system functioning properly with all the security mechanisms in place. iYogi fraud alerts seek to enlighten the layman about online threats.
iYogi is not in the business of sending unsolicited e-mails asking customers to provide, update or verify their personal or account information, such as passwords, Social Security Numbers, PINs or any other sensitive information and bank credentials.
How fraudsters get hold of your e-mail address?
Professional fraudsters are good at generating e-mail addresses randomly. They may also purchase mailing lists; obtain e-mail addresses online from Web pages, chat rooms, social networking sites, etc.
You can be rest assured that iYogi doesn’t trade, rent or sell your personal information, including e-mail addresses, to any third party.
Avoid scams that use the ‘iYogi’ name fraudulently
Cyber criminals realize that they will not get the kind of attention sufficient to dupe you until and unless they use the names of reputed and established companies. The reasons for misusing the name of a company might differ. It can either be done with the sole purpose of making profits using the name of an established company unfairly, or can be done with the intent to damage the reputation of its competitors.
iYogi is among the best tech support service providers and so it is not difficult to understand why scammers are trying to use iYogi’s name. iYogi has an stringent policy in place which stops its technicians from randomly calling customers or possible customers. So, if anyone gives you a cold call citing them as “iYogi Tech Support”, better avoid them. iYogi does not send any unsolicited e-mails or subscription offers to anyone, so avoid clicking on such links or opening such e-mails. We never make unsolicited calls or send illegitimate mails asking for personal credentials or credit card details. If you receive such cold calls or fraudulent e-mails in the name of iYogi, avoid it or delete it immediately. You can also contact us at iYogiCare@iyogi.com. Any kind of legitimate communication is available on iYogi website and can also be passed on by iYogi expert technicians. No information other than this should be taken seriously without checking the authenticity and background details of the caller or sender.
iYogi is a firm believer in “Good karma”. To know more about various online threats, including frauds and scams, visit iYogi website.