It’s no secret that the internet can be a very dark and dangerous place. Sadly, when it comes to money there is no end to the number of scams trying to unfairly part you from your hard-earned cash.
Including common cyber threats such as phishing, fake coupons, dubious bonuses, and formjacking, there’s no limit on how easy it is for people to lose money simply by browsing the internet.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the most common ways people are defrauded through fake offers and bonuses and how to avoid them.
Fake shopping sites and formjacking
With the promise of heavy discounts on top brands, fake shopping sites lure people in with the hope of saving big. While getting 75% off on Raybans, Louis Vuitton, and GUCCI is often too good to be true, the reason behind this is that there is almost always a scam at work.
Such scams usually appear when a legitimate site is hacked by cybercriminals, who then place significant discounts on popular products such as sunglasses and handbags. From there, they steal credit card information by redirecting people to new URLs in the payment process.
How to avoid formjacking
These URLs often contain spelling mistakes, so always check a URL while entering your payment details — they are usually very close to the original URL they imitate.
If you think you have been formjacked, immediately contact your bank and cancel the appropriate payment card. From there, you should monitor your statements for unauthorized or unfamiliar purchases.
It’s also worth keeping track of your credit scores, which alert you when a new card is opened using your personal information.
Dubious online casino offers
Scam casino bonuses often work when shady iGaming sites enforce strict wagering requirements. Usually, wagering terms stop customers from taking unfair advantage of casinos and force players to deposit a set amount before winnings can be withdrawn from a bonus.
However, crooked sites may use this to their advantage. For example, they may demand that a winning $100 bonus must be met with a 10x wagering requirement, which means a player must deposit $1,000 before they can withdraw winnings.
Additionally, some sites may confiscate any money a customer tries to withdraw before they complete the wagering requirements. Again, this will be stated in the often-unread terms and conditions. The worst sites may continue confiscating money until the wagering requirements are met; this includes bonuses, original deposits, and any further money deposited.
How to check wagering requirements
If you’ve come across a new site you’ve not seen before, read through the terms and conditions when you sign up. Pay particular attention to the wagering requirements. Better offers often require enhanced wagering requirements, and today the average wagering requirement sits at 35x the bonus.
If you’re interested in learning about legitimate bonuses firsthand, here are some more bonuses that could be worthwhile.
Instagram phishing scams
If you’re a lover of photographs, it’s worth bearing in mind that Instagram is a platform ripe for phishing scams. Although not the most sophisticated of scams, it is common for Instagram users to receive contact from scammers claiming that their account needs urgently verifying. This can be in the form of an email or a direct message.
With the threat of imminent suspension, the scammer will ask users to “verify” themselves against suspicious activity. Users will then receive a link to log in to a page that looks identical to the official Instagram login page.
From there, scammers will record the user’s login information, have everything required to take over the account, and begin posting scam advertisements, usually using the offer of heavily discounted brand products.
More sophisticated scammers might gain access to third-party apps, and more menacing scammers may even blackmail users in return for their accounts.
How to avoid instagram phishing
Remember that Instagram will never message you directly, and if you do receive an email from the platform, you can check whether it is legitimate by reviewing official emails within settings in the app. Learn more about protecting yourself from Instagram scams in the official help center.
We also wrote about one of the most recent Instagram updates, here.
Fake voucher codes
Searching for coupons and vouchers is a great way to save money online, but it’s also an area that scammers use to gain personal information from shoppers.
This scam works when scammers set up fake coupon sites to lure shoppers in with the promises of heavy discounts. Sadly, however, the coupons are fake, and the site goes on to sell personal information to the highest bidder. If you’ve received spam calls, SMS messages and emails, this could result from your information being sold on the dark web.
How to spot fake voucher sites
You can spot fake voucher websites as they often present higher discounts than legitimate ones and are often accompanied by high-value gift cards going into the hundreds of dollars. Some sites will even try to get you to pay for voucher codes and coupons. If you see payment terms for codes and coupons, avoid them at all costs.
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