Internet scams can cost you a lot of time and money. Every month at DataByte our support team speaks to hundreds of clients and we hear about many different scams and threats that our clients encounter. These are the top five scams that seem to be popular in Malta:
5. I am calling from Microsoft, is your computer switched on ?
These internet scams involve a foreign sounding person with a suspiciously western name calling from “Microsoft” (or any other big corporation). He will give you a reason to log in to your computer and go to a website to install an “update” – which invariably ends up infecting your computer and you will have to pay to clean it or unlock your computer. Microsoft is never going to call you at home or on your mobile about your computer – just don’t bother.
4. An email from a rich person who would like to invest in your business.
Please excuse the direct approach but I am [a rich person, usually connected to a bank or big corporation in Africa] and I would like to invest [enter a silly amount of money here] in your company. These internet scams will either lure you to sending some money to enable a large transaction (that never happens) or else they will try to convince you to provide free products/services with the hope of getting paid later [actually never]. Always ignore such emails.
3. The miraculous cure that doctors don’t want you to know about.
These types of internet scams are nasty because it plays on the vulnerabilities of a person. It promises a miracle cure that doctors don’t want you to know about which will cure [enter any number of conditions here] – cancer, obesity, diabetes, hair loss and skin conditions are the favorites. The scam makes you buy useless creams, pills or other supplements over the internet. The miraculous cure scam is one of the biggest money makers – don’t fall for it.
2. Your computer is infected !
You are browsing the internet and all of a sudden a pop up message tells you that your computer is infected – would you like to download a free anti-virus or anti-malware scanner ? If you click yes and download the application, it invariably will force you to pay money to “clean” your computer or to get rid of it. Always use a reputable anti-virus product and do not download or install software you are not sure about, despite the slick marketing.
1. Security Breach – please click here to reset your email / internet banking / paypal account
You receive an email which looks very much like your bank or email provider or PayPal asking you to reset your password urgently because there was a security breach. If you click on the link they provide, you would actually be giving them your username and password – bad idea. The trick to avoid this internet scam is to never use the link in an email. If you have a doubt, browse directly to the provider’s website and log in from there. It is a good policy to have a separate password for every site you visit, so if attackers learn one password, the damage they can do is limited.
DataByte is a bespoke software and IT solutions company in Malta.
Visit us at www.databyte.com.mt