The Internet has opened up a world of possibilities and opportunities for the ordinary person, but at the same time, it has also made it easy for fraudsters to choose their targets. There are various scams and other fraudulent activities that take place through the Internet, making victims out of unsuspecting people. These days, there’s a new kind of scam going around the Web—honey trap scams, also known as honeypots.
What Are Honey Traps?
To a spy, the term ‘honey trap’ would mean the process to lure an agent into parting with confidential information with the help of a seductive woman. In the ordinary world, it essentially involves a fraud dating site and proposals from unknown but attractive people, wanting to make your acquaintance. Give in to these traps, and you either end up losing all your money or getting your computer seriously infected.
Some nefarious forces like this are even using Skype to try to mess with people. Some attractive person on Skype will try to speak with you and so on via Skype – you just have to block them to stop this nefarious pursuit.
Online dating sites have made it easier for busy people to find a partner. With the rise of hundreds of dating sites, it wasn’t long till fraudsters started making use of them too. Usually, these scammers know that people who register on these sites are desperate to find a partner, and they use this opportunity to lure them into parting with their bank details and other private information.
This does not mean all dating sites are fraudulent. When you open your email’s ‘spam’ or ‘junk’ folder, you must have seen emails that invite you to ‘to meet a nice girl’ or ‘learn how to please your man better’ or ‘find the love of your life’. These emails contain a link that DO NOT lead to a reputed dating site. If you click on the links within the email, you end up downloading a virus that infects your machine.
Of course, if you get beguiled and start corresponding with the sender of the email, you run an even bigger risk—that of losing your money. There’s a reason why these emails end up in the junk folder.
The Types of Honey Trap scams
There are two very popular types of honey trap scams these days. The first is the ‘Nigerian’ scam, in which a girl from far-away Africa writes to the hapless man and shares her sad story. The man soon finds out that the girl has an inheritance of millions, and is lured by all that money. He is promised a part of the millions if he pays for some ‘legal services’ to get the girl out of her country. Once the man has paid thousands of dollars, the Internet lover disappears into thin air.
The second type is the ‘Russian’ scam, where the girl claims to be poor and seeks help from her ‘husband-to-be’. These scammers only target men who are believed to be rich. From asking money for a plane ticket to gladly accepting whatever ‘gifts’ the man wants to give the girl, these fraudsters slowly drain the person of their money, and then disappear.
Scammers scan thousands of profiles on various dating sites and pick people to target. There is never any dating site associated with these emails, though. If you’re smart, you’ll know it’s a scam immediately. But surprisingly, some people fall victims to these fraudulent activities and are even lured into dangerous crimes sometimes.
How to be Safe
A little bit of discretion and awareness can help you stay safe from these honey trap scams. Some of these ways are:
- Do not open the emails that end up in your ‘spam’ folder. To make sure important emails don’t go to junk, ‘white list’ email addresses that you regularly receive emails from. Beware of any email with strange subject lines, like the offer of a million dollars or an invite to meet someone special.
- Learn to spot these scam emails. Usually, they are written in very poor English, or in another language, like Russian. Never open these emails, and even if you do, don’t click on any links or reply to the sender.
- Do not visit dating sites that you’ve never heard of, particularly those that appear in spam emails. It poses a threat to your computer.
- Be wary of generous offers that want to give you millions of dollars or the chance to meet someone special.
- Most importantly, always use a good security system for your computer as it will automatically warn you about malicious or suspicious sites.
The Internet is like the world itself—full of different types of people, and not everyone has good intentions. Educating yourself about these cyber crimes, and keeping yourself aware can easily help you avoid these honey trap scams and be safe online.