The digital lifestyle has many perks but also a dark side- online scams. According to Visa’s 2023 Stay Secure Study, approximately 52 percent of Pakistanis have been the target of a scam at least once.
Although more than half of those surveyed believe they are skilled enough to avoid online and phone scams, the truth is that nine out of ten people are likely to ignore the signs that indicate online criminal activity.
Even more concerning is the discovery that 21 percent of the victims have fallen for scams multiple times, which is higher than the global average of 15 percent.
According to a Senior Vice President at Visa, scams are becoming more advanced as criminals employ fresh strategies to deceive unaware individuals.
Scammers are using persuasive methods to trick their targets, whether it’s a package supposedly stuck in customs, a streaming service subscription that seems expired, or an enticing free voucher for a beloved brand.
As digital payments continue to surge, consumers in Pakistan must be aware of fraudulent tactics and exercise extreme caution.
What Are Some of the Common Methods Used by Cybercriminals to Scam People?
Cybercriminals often send seemingly legitimate emails that mimic trusted organizations. These emails typically contain urgent requests for personal information, such as passwords or credit card details. The victims may click on malicious links or download harmful attachments.
Scammers create fake websites that closely resemble those of reputable businesses, banks, or government entities. They lure victims to these sites, where they are prompted to enter sensitive information, believing they are interacting with a legitimate organization.
Cybercriminals exploit psychological manipulation techniques to gain victims’ trust. They might impersonate a friend or family member online, pretending to be in urgent need of financial assistance.
Alternatively, they may pose as a trustworthy authority figure, like a bank representative, to coax individuals into sharing confidential information.
Impersonation on Social Media:
Scammers create fake profiles, often using stolen photos and information. They then befriend potential victims, gain their trust, and may request money or sensitive data under various pretenses.
Investment and Ponzi Schemes:
Scammers promote fake investment opportunities promising high returns with little to no risk. Victims are encouraged to invest their money, only to discover later that their funds have disappeared in a fraudulent scheme.
Fake Sweepstakes and Lotteries:
Cybercriminals notify individuals that they’ve won a lottery or sweepstakes they never entered. To claim their supposed prize, victims are asked to pay fees or provide personal information, which is then exploited.
How to Stay Safe from the Scams?
To protect themselves from these and other scams, individuals should exercise caution online, verify the legitimacy of requests for personal information or payments, use strong passwords, and stay informed about the latest scam tactics. Being vigilant and skeptical can go a long way in avoiding falling victim to cybercriminals.