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4 Common Targets for Online Scams

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Online scam artists seem to become more prevalent by the day. Despite constant advances in cyber security, these dedicated crooks continuously find new schemes to perpetrate and new vehicles for carrying them out. Although a fair portion of cybercriminals view all internet users as prospective marks, many scams are designed with certain groups in mind. Like all experienced scammers, online scam artists prey on the fears and vulnerabilities of specific groups, hence their high rate of success. Many people take pride in never falling for online scams, but these individuals fail to realize that they’re not part of the groups such scams often target. To better understand the nature of online scams, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the targets these cons are designed to prey on.  

  1. Website Owners

Unsecured websites are frequent targets for hackers and malware developers. If a site has security vulnerabilities, cybercriminals won’t hesitate to take advantage of them. In addition to hacking into sites’ databases for the purpose of stealing user information, crooks love to spread malicious software through Flash and Java-based ads. As such, it behooves website owners and administrators to invest in effective security solutions – not just for their own sake, but for their users as well. Sites that are habitually targeted by scammers often suffer blows to their reputations and see their visitor numbers plummet as a result, so if your site acts as a source of income, this can prove financially ruinous. If you’re a safety-conscious site owner, an informative Site-Lock review can teach you all about cloud-based security solutions.

  1. Senior Citizens

An ever-expanding plethora of scams is targeted squarely at senior citizens, and internet-based cons are no exception. Because the elderly generally aren’t as well-versed in modern technology as their younger peers, many cybercriminals thrive on exploiting their technological deficiencies. Since the internet didn’t exist when they were growing up, seniors often have trouble recognizing scams, even ones that are fairly obvious to younger internet users. As a result, they’re far more willing to share sensitive financial information with people claiming to be family members and be taken in by get-rich-quick schemes. It’s important to note, however, that falling for these scams doesn’t necessarily connote a lack of intelligence on the part of seniors. For most of their lives, this technology wasn’t around, and since seniors tend to go online less than younger people, it isn’t hard to see why they’re unable to recognize seemingly obvious markers of internet scams. With this in mind, anyone with elderly friends or relatives that are at risk for targeted attacks should take the time to educate them on assorted online threats.  

  1. People with Money Problems

Financial anxiety and uncertainty are very high in the U.S. With cost of living on the increase and wages stagnating across the board, it’s easy to see why so many people are plagued by money troubles. Of course, this hasn’t escaped the attention of dedicated scam artists. A sizable percentage of phishing scams involve the promise of easy money, and for someone who can barely survive month to month, these deals may seem too good to pass up. While some of these scams are fairly obvious, spear phishing cons—that is, individually-targeted personalized phishing scams—can be much harder to recognize. Regardless of your economic situation, the adage “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is” should always be adhered to.

  1. Lonely Singles

Although some singles are perfectly content with being alone, others strongly desire human companionship – and scammers won’t hesitate to take advantage of this. Some scammers assume the identities of attractive men and women and send targets emails and social media messages claiming they stumbled upon their profiles and fell for them head-over-heels. After working the target for a while, these scammers will invariably ask for money despite refusing to engage in video chats or meet in person. Although the promise of companionship can be tempting, someone you’ve never met before purporting to be madly in love with you is generally a huge red flag.  

With their success rates increasing by the year, online scammers have little incentive to cease their criminal activity. Since it’s often difficult to track down and prosecute the people responsible for these schemes, cybercriminals generally view the odds as being in their favor. Although many online crooks will take advantage of any receptive mark, their cons are often designed to take advantage of certain groups. As anyone who’s fallen for one of these schemes can confirm, it’s easy to say “I told you so” when you don’t belong to any of the targeted groups and are viewing the situation from the outside.