Online scamming becomes even more dangerous every year on April 1, or April Fools’ Day. Before you fall victim to a dangerous scam through e-mail or any other digital means, PureVPN would like to inform you about the 5 worst online scams so that you know it’s a con when you see one.
1. Lottery Scams
If you receive an e-mail telling you that you have won a lottery, before doing anything else, just ask yourself did you ever buy a lottery ticket?
The chances are that you will get NO as an answer. However, if you did buy a lottery, you still shouldn’t go crazy that you won a $50,000 prize. Instead, you should match the lottery details with the one that you just have supposedly won. The probability is maybe one in a million that you have won a lottery like that, especially through an e-mail balloting.
Remember, it’s April Fools’ Day and the likelihood of you winning something on this day is very thin. So beware and don’t let an internet fraud fool you.
2. Low Cost Software Hoaxes And Scams
Starting from low-cost software offers, contact updating services and phishing to many more; there are countless online threats that you want to keep yourself safe from. Whether you receive an offer to download a software or program for a price that is too good to be true or to get something for free; just be aware that it is all a scam!
\There is no way somebody wants to give you something so cheap or for free, especially on, before, or after April Fools’ Day.
3. Overpayment Hoaxes
This scam is pulled by criminals in different ways – the most common one being international sales of vehicles. You can be a victim of this scam if you list a vehicle or other big-ticket item for sale. A person from overseas would want to buy it, often for more than you asked for.
The person will send you a money order of an amount way more than you asked for (for some bogus reason), and now you will have to send the difference amount back, which would often be related to international fees to ship the vehicle (or anything else) overseas.
The money order will look very real and would also be accepted by the banks but it will be fake, making you lose the difference you send the scammer (after you deposited the money order in the bank and it supposedly got through).
4. Phishing Scams
Most phishing scams are carried out via e-mail. These internet scams work in an easy way; you are sent an e-mail with a too-good-to-be-true offer that you can in no way ignore.
There are a number of online scams when we talk about phishing scams, the most notable ones being the Nigerian fraud, health and diet scams, investment opportunities and free-goods scams. We have recently covered the topic of phishing scams in detail, which you should definitely checkout.
5. Ponzi Schemes
This one is probably the most damaging internet scams of them all. Named after Charles Ponzi (famous as the father of investor schemes), the scam works by promising very high returns on investments. The scammers use money from new investors to pay the previous investors, which leads to excellent testimonials. Everything goes nicely for the investors, but for a brief period of time. The scheme collapses soon, leaving most of the investors poorer.
Bonus: Here are some more internet scams that are specifically pulled on innocent internet users by evil cyber criminals:
1. E-mail messages asking users to watch a funny video by clicking on a malicious link.
2. Free software or e-book download links which would instead infect the users’ device with a spyware, malware or ransomware.
3. A form asking the user to fill up their details to get free subscription of an online service, receive something for free etc. Upon providing their personal information, users will become vulnerable against a device-hack, or in the worst case scenario, a blackmailing threat.
Here are the most common e-mail subject lines that are used by the scammers while pulling their dirty tricks on innocent internet users on and around the April Fools’ Day:
1. Gotcha! All Fool!
3. Wise Men Have Learned More from Fools
4. Today You Can Officially Act Foolish
5. Surprise! The joke’s on you.
6. Today’s Joke
7. Join the Laugh-A-Lot!
8. Happy April Fools’ Day!
9. Happy April Fools!
We hope that you stay safe on April Fools’ Day and on all the other days of the year. You just have to be extra cautious around April Fools’ Day to stay safe from all kinds of troubles, be it mental disturbance or financial losses.
Have a nice and safe April!