Internet Phishing Scams
By Sydney Sierra
Internet scams are more common today with the advances in technology. Scammers attempt to get sensitive identification information about us and/or our money. Previously, I was working as a phone bank teller and many of our customers (of all ages) fell for internet scams under the impression that they were legit. My experiences working in finance has made me very cautious with anything online to include “urgent” calls/emails, job listings and buying goods/services.
Knowing more about the signs of internet phishing scams can help everyone protect their finances and stop cyber criminals from scamming. I have spoken to customers who didn’t realize they were being scammed until they called their bank. I would give them the tips of how to identify scams. I have seen scammers pretend to be legit companies, online transactions (renting an apartment, buying a pet) and even scam jobs (utilizing gift cards to buy “equipment”).
Most phone services have built in/optional features to help mitigate unknown calls, potentially spam.
Most scammers ask for payment by sending a fraudulent check or money order in exchange for gift cards or electronic transfers (Zelle, Venmo, Paypal, Cash App etc…)
There is no reason to give anyone online banking information including loan officers, employers and government agencies. Legit personnel have other means to verify bank information or send funds.
“Covid-19 is the first event of its kind since the birth of the Internet. This global pandemic impacts so many different aspects of our lives including physical and financial safety, across geographies for an unpredictable time frame…a perfect lure [for online criminals].”
-Stephanie Carruthers, IBM’s hacking research division
I believe that internet and phishing scams progressed within the last few years with the many methods of online money transfer services, the financial vulnerability (including remote jobs) that the pandemic brought and the increase of online shopping (especially due to the pandemic).
I first witnessed a scam with my mother, which upset me since she didn’t understand the dangers of accepting “free money” online. I took that same concern and urge to protect in my professional environment. People of all ages fall for scams, and it is all due to lack of knowledge of how new technology can be used. I believed it is a cycle, technology increases for protection and scammers increase theirs for criminal activities.
Marks, Joseph. “Analysis | the Cybersecurity 202: Coronavirus Pandemic Unleashes Unprecedented Number of Online Scams.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 17 July 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-cybersecurity- 202/2020/04/01/the-cybersecurity-202-coronavirus-pandemic-unleashes-unprecedented- number-of-online-scams/5e83799b88e0fa101a757098/.