The upsurge in emotional fake news has increased the risk of creating an environment of uncertainty and fear that can discourage a calm and logical assessment in favor of an immediate reaction prone to scam.

The explosion of misinformation has served as a bait store for phishers, scammers, and con artists. Cybercriminals have hosted debates and conspiracy theories of multiple issues that they can use to make their scams more tempting. The 5G and Corona pandemic has sparked so much misinformation.

The accidental spread of false content, usually via social media, is so common that the World Health Organization (WHO) had to create a Mythbusters webpage to expose some of the baseless rumors about potential treatments for Covid-19, including using bleach or antibiotics, and supposed causes, like 5G mobile networks.

Scammers have posed as charities pretending to help coronavirus victims in the past and Ukraine today. They have posed as government and university departments operating track-and-trace programs, and even as the WHO asking for payment. False and unproven treatments can be used to gather data by exploiting people worried about the risk of falling ill.

Widespread anxiety can distract people and leave them prone to scam attacks!

It’s not just the pandemic that criminals can exploit. The increasingly polarized world of political debate online and the latest events and crises can also be used to persuade people to click links and open attachments. Scammers can insert themselves into arguments, tricking people into clicking on something they think might confirm their own beliefs or, conversely, something designed to enrage. Both the carrot and the stick can be used to knock people off balance and cause them to act without thinking.

Perhaps the greatest strength of scammers is adaptability. Expose one scam, and two more take its place. Criminals can always find a way and a subject to trick people.

At its root, every scam is about persuading you to either click on a link, volunteer information, buy a product out of fear or donate to a charity.

For a scam to work, a few elements are required:

  • Criminals pose as a trusted source, usually a familiar organization or even a colleague.
  • Clever scams always have a sense of urgency about them because the scammer does not want you to stop and consider what you’re doing.
  • Successful scams often push emotional buttons to bypass logical thinking.

Find 5 tips for avoiding charity frauds & scams here

Read Forbes article on how to avoid online phishing here



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