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In recent years, many of the world’s shopping and payment transactions happened over the Internet. However, as a result, this trend attracted more criminals and hackers to move their illicit activities online and exploit any vulnerabilities for money. As such, in 2020, the FBI reported that phishing and non-payment/delivery scams were two of the top reported cybercrimes. Additionally, in Q1-Q2 2021 alone, there’s an estimate of over $107 million lost from online scams. With these data and reports in mind, it’s clear that Internet fraud is an ever-growing issue with no sign of slowing down. Thus, if you’re looking to learn more about it, please read on. Below, we’ll discuss the most common online scams and how to avoid them.
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1. Email scam
Hackers and criminals use emails to send malicious links and harmful files to random or targeted recipients. In the process, a scam email typically disguises as someone else or a legitimate company by copying its photo, name, logo, or email address. If a recipient clicks the email, it might inject malware automatically into the computer, which can harm the device or OS, steal files, or install ransomware. Aside from that, a scam email might also contain links that redirect to phishing sites.
As safe practices, it’s best to ignore strange emails and not answer one after opening. Also, please don’t click any action or open links as these might lead to data or money stealing websites. Since most services like Gmail and Outlook offer fraud detection features, it’s ideal to use them and report suspicious emails as spam. However, if responding is necessary, using a tool like Spokeo to perform an email search would help check the sender’s identity and social profiles.
2. Phone call scam
Telephone scams are similar to email fraud but in the form of phone calls. Likewise, a criminal might pretend to be staff of a bank or other company calling to give a prize, promote opportunities, or help the recipient to solve a non-existent issue. Next, the hacker will ask for sensitive information like account credentials, bank records, and addresses or demand money to pay fake processing fees or registrations. If successful, someone can lose money or control of an account after only a phone call.
If one wants to avoid phone fraud, not answering calls from unknown numbers would help. Moreover, redialing or calling back strangers is also not advisable. During a call, it’s best not to disclose sensitive things like personal information and account details; remember, legitimate companies won’t ask for passwords, security codes, or other account verifiers. Lastly, to be sure, using Spokeo’s reverse phone lookup feature helps in reviewing a caller’s name and social media links or criminal records.
3. Online shopping scam
Online shopping scams came in many forms. For instance, someone might ghost a buyer after successfully receiving payment for a non-existent product for sale in an online marketplace. Apart from that, a hacker can also create a phishing site identical to a legitimate one and then capture buyers’ credit card data and steal money from fake checkouts. Typically, these criminals place enticing promotions or impossibly low markup on products to surely attract users.
When shopping online, checking the reviews for a product, seller, or website itself is ideal. By doing so, one can learn from the experiences of actual previous buyers and then judge whether the store is legitimate or not. Besides that, not paying too much upfront would also help. However, when unsure, using an email and phone number lookup tool like Spokeo is beneficial. With Spokeo’s email and phone number search features, it’s easy to learn a store or seller’s identity, social media accounts, and even criminal records.
Catfishing is the act of disguising as someone else to steal money or do harm to a person. In the process, a criminal might use social engineering and pretend as a relative or friend of a particular target through social media, messaging services, emails, or by phone. Next, a hacker will then ask for money for made-up reasons like accidents or other inconveniences. Aside from that, kidnappers and predators also use this method to learn a person’s current location or set a meetup in a particular place to perform harmful actions.
In avoiding catfish attempts, contacting existing accounts or numbers of a known friend or family would help in considering if the new request is actual or not. Additionally, it’s advisable to limit answers to questions, avoid giving names or addresses, and never sending money or other things. If it’s a request on a social media platform, copying the profile picture and examining it on Google Images search helps verify if the photo is real or taken from the web. Lastly, if it’s possible, asking for a video call is the best way to review someone’s identity.
5. Online booking and rental scam
Booking and rental scams are illegal activities carried out to steal money out of fake or incorrect listings. As such, a criminal might post non-existing or copied photos of properties from the web, ask for upfront payments like reservations, and then wholly ghosts the potential buyer. Besides that, others might also use misleading graphics to attract viewers into renting another inferior property. Regardless, while platforms like Airbnb, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace perform fraud detection efforts, it’s still hard to crack down on these scammers due to specific verification limitations.
If one wants to avoid such scams, reviewing client reviews would help identify the legitimacy of a user. Also, using the same Google Images search tool helps in learning if the property photos are real or taken from somewhere else. Finally, one can ask for additional proof or demand a video call to verify further if the listing is not just another scam.
Beware Of The Common Online Scams
Everyone can easily pretend to be someone else or a company to steal data, money, and identity on the web. Accordingly, it’s best to thoroughly examine and decide before responding to messages and calls, sending money, disclosing sensitive information, and meeting someone. By following the above tips and suggestions, one can avoid the common scams that victimized countless people worldwide.
Maguire Haigh is a marketing manager for Spokeo. He is interested in the latest technology trends, marketing strategies, and business development. He also prefers traveling, exploring the world, and meeting new people. Maguire has great experience in creating and editing articles on different topics.
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored and hence promotes some commercial links.)
Canadian researchers have discovered an overlooked gene that plays a major role in the development of antibodies, which help the immune system recognize and fight viruses including SARS-CoV-2, bacteria and other causes of infectious disease. The gene -- FAM72A -- facilitates production of high-quality antibodies by enabling the effect of an enzyme called AID (for Activation-Induced Deaminase), the researchers showed.
Immunologists have known for two decades that AID is essential to produce antibodies capable of clearing infections, but the full mechanism of its effect has remained unknown. "Our findings answer the long-standing question of how AID does its work," said Alberto Martin, a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto's Temerty Faculty of Medicine. "FAM72A helps AID to promote mutations in antibody genes that are essential for the development of effective antibodies," he added.
Genetic mutations that lead to lasting changes in DNA occur through a process called mutagenesis. | Pixabay
Genetic mutations that lead to lasting changes in DNA occur through a process called mutagenesis. In the context of antibody development, mutagenesis unfolds largely through the AID-driven mechanisms called somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination -- both of which help antibodies gain the diversity and potency they need to counter a wide range of pathogens.
The results published in the journal Nature will help researchers better understand antibody development broadly, but they also have implications for cancer. Uncontrolled mutagenesis in B cells that produce antibodies is linked to B cell lymphoma, and FAM72A is present at very high levels in other cancers such as gastrointestinal, breast, lung, liver and ovarian cancers.
"Our data show that high levels of FAM72A promote mutations in antibody genes, so increased levels of FAM72A could spur cancer development, progression or drug resistance by increasing mutagenesis,a Martin said. Martin's team is now exploring those possibilities. Intriguingly, unlike other mammals, humans have four gene versions of FAM72A and their roles in cancer and antibody production are still unknown. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: researchers, cancer, mutagenesis, antibody, development, antibodies, canada, COVID
Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India will set up a 50 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Odisha's Sambalpur at a total cost of Rs 301.92 crore, moving steadily towards its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2024. MCL has placed a turnkey order to set-up a 50 MW solar power plant with a Chennai-based firm M/s Hild Energy Ltd, which will establish this green energy project within a timeline of 10 months, the MCL said in a statement on Saturday.
This solar plant would cater to the captive power requirement of MCL. The Central PSU had successfully set-up a 2MW solar power plant in Sambalpur in 2014. The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024 in order to become a net zero energy company, aligning itself to use cleaner forms of energy for coal production.
The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024. | Photo by Mariana Proença on Unsplash
This 50 MW solar power project will reduce CO2 emission by 91,020 tonnes per annum and carbon offsets of around 24,824 tonnes per annum, claimed the MCL. MCL is the leading production subsidiary of Coal India, having mining operations in Angul, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts of Odisha. Having achieved the highest ever capital expenditure of Rs 2,419 crore in the financial year 2020-21, the company has coal production and dispatch targets of 163 million tonnes and 182 million tonnes, respectively.
MCL was the coal mining company to introduce environment-friendly surface miner technology, which contributes over 95 per cent in coal production. As another environment-friendly initiative, the company has successfully introduced vertical rippers for blast-less over-burden removal in Hingula and Kaniha opencast projects. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: solar plant, carbon neutrality, Odisha, Sambalpur, Coal India, subsidiary, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, solar energy
As the nation celebrated the 114th birth anniversary of his father - renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan - megastar Amitabh Bachchan remembered his dad as he penned a heartfelt note for him. The actor took to his blog where he poured his heart out and also shared an unseen photo with his father. The image in question is from Big B's wedding in 1973, where the two are caught in a sweet moment as they look at each other.
Amitabh Bachchan wrote on his blog,
"My Father , my all .. November 27th his birth in the year 1907 .. Which makes it his 114th Anniversary .. He is in the heavens, with my Mother and they celebrate .. as do we , in thought word and deed .. (sic). But first."
He then posted the picture followed by elaborate paragraphs. The megastar wrote,
"Those rare moments when one would find himself rushing against the winds to prevent the distance between us and to close it down as soon as it can be. The day of my wedding and his expression of fulfilment to not just be in congratulation but instead to be in the face of a belief, a chime, an ultimate season of love and great passion, of the quarries of the fears and conditionings of these deprived gym routines kart ..(sic)". "This could have been unknown for long facilitating years, to give not expected versions and lastly large scale informations of the insides ; but as time passed by, as does now , they explained purposely, the values of education and similarity .. Be in peace and love .. (sic)",
the veteran actor concluded his note. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Amitabh Bachchan, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, actor, blog, birth anniversary, 114th birthday