Online scams are fairly well-known to everyone who uses the internet to any degree. They have existed for as long as the internet has existed and not changed all that much over time. And yet, there are tons of people who fall prey to these scams every day. This not only compromises their systems but may also put their financial accounts in jeopardy. But why do so many people fall prey to these scams?
Even though many know how to spot one, they seem to miss out on critical tells and compromise their devices. Let’s look at some common reasons why people tend to fall for these otherwise easily avoided scams:
Why Are Predictable Scams Still So Successful?
Scamming people online has evolved rapidly over the past decade. With the rise in privacy concerns, commercially available cybersecurity tools like VPNs and a little common sense, scamming is no longer “easy”. But while that is true, the scams themselves have changed very little over that same time. This may seem odd considering that a lot more people know of online scams than 10 years ago. And yet, if you look at any average scam email which lands in your inbox, you will find it incredibly predictable.
The reason why the scam emails and other online tricks have not changed is rather simple. By keeping the script for the scam simple, the scammers are actually weed out all those who can spot a scam. This leaves the scam email to generate hits from only the most gullible of all targets. Also, it allows the scammers to not have to deal with any savvy responders. So, they are left with only those who would genuinely fall prey to the scam, easy to see through though it may be.
3 Reasons Why Online Scams Still Work on Many People
Too Much Information
The internet is a treasure trove all the information you could ever possibly want. It has made our lives more hectic than any previous generation ever had. However, this busyness also comes at a cost where we can tend to overlook critical information. This is one of the major reasons why online scams can pass through our notice.
How many times have you opened an email or clicked a link only to realize you probably should’ve checked it first. It might have been perfectly harmless, but it could have let a hacker into your system as well. This is a risk simply not worth taking. And even though most people understand the dangers, they seldom practice the widely available safety checklist before clicking a link.
Believe it or not, this is one of the biggest reasons why people fall for online scams. Because they are too busy in their online activities or trust their system, they fail to do a manual check. As a result, they often end up compromising their systems and even those of their entire office to malicious online agents.
Faked Domain Authorities
While a lot of the most successful scams happen because people don’t examine them carefully, there are other reasons as well. Scammers and hackers have grown more sophisticated over time and use a number of tricks to bypass website security.
They can fake the brand logos and authentication domains of websites like banks. This allows them to convince many of their targets that the emails are legit. Further, they can also set up a fake website which looks almost identical to the domain they are trying to fake. This means that only someone who looks carefully at the website design and logo or other important visuals will actually be able
So, for example, if you have an account with americanexpress.com, you may not notice that the link you just open leads to americannexpress.com. That extra ‘n’ which you probably didn’t notice changes the entire game. When you don’t check for this and you enter your information on the page, you essentially sign your bank accounts away.
Rapidly Developing Technology
Another big reason that many people fall prey to all kinds of online scams is due to evolving technology. For the most part, any person who is not a professional in cybersecurity can only stay behind the curve. And the evolutionary curve in this area is always growing faster. So, it is always possible that some scammer uses an innovative new way to get into your system or make you compromise it.
In fairness, there is very little chance that you are going to know all the latest security measures in the market. Even though auto-updates on core software like OS and others keep these breach potentials at bay, there is always a window which is exploitable. But that said, if you keep true to certain simple but foundational safety tricks, then staying safe isn’t all that hard.
However, the onus of staying in the know about the most common scams out there is on you. It takes only one of these to compromise your device. And you might not even know that this has happened until weeks later. So, erring on the side of caution is a good policy when it comes to dubious emails.
Online scams are always about and you never know when you will find in your inbox. Many of these, especially the ones from a certain infamous “Nigerian prince”, are easy to spot. You will know what it is about even if you don’t open the email itself. However, others are not so easy to spot. They may come in the form of bank detail requests from seemingly legit authorities. Others may ask for your income tax return number.
There are always new and innovative ways the scammers are trying to use to rope you in. The best way to defend against these is to know how these scams are perpetrated, how to spot the usual scam and keep your device software updated at all times. In case you get a suspicious email which you think might be legit, you can always check with the issuing authority before opening it.