It is no longer news that ‘scams are real’ and ‘scammers exist’, they are humans like us and they are apparently in every corner of the world.
Down the memory lane, the term “yahoo” was localized in Nigeria in the early 2000s as the name for ‘internet fraud’.
While the internet has made it simple for us as humans to connect easily, the simplicity has brought in bigger challenges.
The internet offers us a wide range of benefits but sadly, internet fraudsters devise clever plans to defraud millions of people every day.
Online fraud and scams operate under many different disguises and go by many names such as yahoo-yahoo, cyber-crime, internet fraud, online crime, e-crime.
Here are a few facts about online scammers:
1. They are very patient strategically looking for a perfect time to strike.
2. Older women are usually the ‘chief target’ for scammers.
3. These scammers are usually too quick in trying to convince you about his or her identity backing it up with fake ‘proof’
4. In Nigeria, scammers who are usually referred to as ‘Yahoo boys’, make use of voodoo or traditional powers called ‘Yahoo Plus’ or ‘Yahoo Plus Plus’.
5. The most common type of ‘Yahoo Plus’ or ‘Yahoo Plus Plus’ is ‘do as I say’ which means you’ll be manipulated to give in to their demands, and only come to your senses to realize the errors after you’ve been defrauded.
6. Everyone is potential target for scammers and they are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money.
7. Examples of the scam used by internet fraudsters are; Job offer scams, lottery scams, beneficiary scams, online dating scams, charity fraud scams e.t.c.
So to avoid being scammed by these fraudsters via the aforementioned means above, here are few tips to eliminate the risk:
1. Spot/detect imposter – Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust; a family member or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request.
2. Be ‘red alert’ to the fact that scams exist – When dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses, whether it’s over the phone/mail/social networking site, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam.
3. Know who you’re dealing with – If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a business, take some time to do a bit more research. If a message or email comes from a friend and it seems unusual or out of character for them, contact your friend directly.
4. Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links – Be careful not to click on spammed links which could lead to compromising your personal details.
5. Keep your personal details secure – It is necessary to advice that you keep your passwords and pin numbers secured.
Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social media sites.
6. Review your privacy settings on social media – If you use social networking sites, such as Facebook, be careful who you connect with and learn how to use your privacy and security settings to ensure you stay safe.
7. Be extremely cautious when dealing with anyone you’ve met online – Scammers use dating websites, social media, and many other sites to reach potential targets.
They can quickly feel like a friend or even a romantic partner, but that is part of the tactics to get you to trust them.
8. Don’t be pressured to act immediately – Scammers typically try to make you think there’s a limited time offer.
They want to push you into action before you have time to think, it’s never a good idea to make an important decision quickly.
9. Fake social media profiles – Some scammers create fake profiles and send you a friend request or message.
If you respond, they then send you offers to make quick money or invest, or ask for money to help them with trouble they are having.
They could also gain access to your personal information and steal your identity.
10. Text Message To Update Your Bank Verification Number – If you get a text message on your cell phone from your bank saying “there’s been a problem with your bank verification number (BVN), and you need to call right away with some account information”, the truth is your supposed “bank” is a scammer hoping you will reveal your account information.