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3 Shocking New Cyber Hacking Scams

3 Shocking New Cyber Hacking Scams

July 25, 2017

Hackers seem to be at it again as these shocking new cyber hacks reveal the latest scams and how you can avoid becoming the next victim.

Recent reports a couple falling prey to a Nigerian online lottery scam after the husband — a retired agricultural scientist with GKVK, University of Agricultural Sciences fell prey to an online quiz in 2014. In order to claim the alleged Rs 5 crore prize, the couple together spent Rs 1.3 crore till mid-2017.

RELATED: Social Security Administration Warns Latest Scam Call Steals Checks

Two Indian-Americans were also arrested and convicted earlier this month in a massive international call centre scam that took place last year. They were booked for impersonation fraud and money laundering in the US carried out through India-based call centres.

Velpuri Pavithra, also experienced an incident where she almost lost Rs 10,000, but her presence of mind stopped her from getting duped. She mentions how an online scammer tried to fool her by asking her to sell her stroller to him.

Credit card scam

There’s a lot to learn from these cautionary tales, and steps to ensure you never fall into the same trap.

How do these scams operate?

Scam emails originating from African countries became a trend in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. is a good repository of these email scams and how they’ve evolved (or not really) over the years. Now, because more and more people are using smartphones to connect with each other, scammers don’t just concentrate on sending scam emails but also exploit SMSes, social messaging apps, and even phone calls to look for potential victims.

Scammers are even known to place ads in newspapers, luring victims to call them. Whether they call you or you call them, understand that they’re after your personal details — name, date of birth, address, PAN card details, Aadhaar number, bank account details, etc. Personally identifiable information if fallen into the wrong hands could lead to identity theft resulting in financial losses due to impersonation frauds, not to mention a lot of mental stress.



The scams can be of varying nature — online lottery prize, overseas job placement, donation request for medical expenses, but the most common scenario is the following: You’ll be contacted about winning a lottery, that you need to furnish more personal details (and eventually money), to be able to receive the promised prize money. The scammers will try to sound official or professional at first, but eventually reveal the farce. They will almost always press a potential victim into taking action according to their instructions in a quick or hurried manner, creating a false sense of urgency.

If the potential victims respond to the scammer’s messages, they eventually crack with the lure of big money, not understanding that they’re being taken for a ride. Before long, irrevocable damage has been done. The scammers disappear and are hard to track. Money once gone is very difficult to recover.

How to stay safe and secure from phone, SMS scammers:

Don’t open SMSes or phone calls from unknown numbers

If you see an SMS or phone call originating from a funny number, please don’t receive or respond to it. Remember, curiosity killed the cat, and also ignorance is bliss.

Install Caller ID apps like Truecaller or DU Spam

Go one step ahead, and let apps solve the mystery of the unknown caller for you. Apps like Truecaller or DU Spam (which is developed by Alibaba’s artificial intelligence lab) flash the screen in red whenever a scam or malicious number tries to get in touch with you.


RELATED: US Health Care Fraud Schemes Worth $1.3 billion

Secure your social media accounts and data

Remember, scammers and bad guys are trying to hoodwink you into telling them your personal details. You may think you’re warding them off successfully by ignoring them on the phone, but it doesn’t help if you don’t secure your social media accounts and what you have on there. Scam messages repeatedly do the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, too, so stay vigilant.

Have very strong passwords. Don’t use the same passwords on multiple websites. Double, triple check the privacy settings of what you share on social platforms and whom you share it with. Remember, not each and every aspect of your life needs to be online — the less you share, the more secure you ultimately will be.

Don’t share personal information with unknown contacts

If someone calls to tell you they’re reaching out on behalf of your bank, municipal authority, electricity board, or any other official sounding institution, and that they want you to send them your personal info, verify the caller’s identity thoroughly first. If you’re not fully convinced of the caller’s authenticity, do not engage.

Communicate on your terms

Whenever you’re responding to a suspicious caller, flip the tables and do it on your own terms. Scam callers, 99% of the time, like to keep control of the flow of events — they’re good at giving instructions, and often blow their cover whenever you ask them to follow yours. If they’re saying they’re calling from your bank, tell them you’ll call the main customer care number and do the same procedure after double checking. If they ask you respond immediately, take your own time — what’s the hurry?

Never send money to an unknown person

Duh! Instead, maybe donate it to a charity after double, triple checking?

Lost money to online scam

Beware of extra sweet online shopping deals

Don’t believe every fantastic offer that you come across while surfing the web. Stick to trusted sources like Amazon, Ebay, Flipkart and the like. Be wary of obscure shopping websites dealing in virtual currencies (like Bitcoin). They may not have the same safeguards to protect your money during the transaction as some of the more established ecommerce players. If something seems too good to be true, it almost always is.

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