Scams. Phishing. Identity theft. As much as we like to think that we won't fall for such malicious attempts, you cannot deny the fact that the threat is real.
As per Statista, internet penetration currently stands at 50 percent of the entire world's population. With the increasingly widespread use of the internet, people and businesses have become more vulnerable to such incidents.
According to research conducted by Radicati Group, email spam, which is only one type of scam out there, end up costing people a total of US$20.5 billion annually. Yet, often people don't take scams seriously or are heavily misinformed about it.
You must know the myths surrounding the issue to tackle them effectively. Here are the commonly believed myths regarding scams.
Myth #1: Scams are easily detectable
One of the most prevalent misconceptions regarding scams is that they can easily be detected. For instance, there is a hack about detecting spam emails through the type of grammar they use. No professional email will come with typos.
While this is a great tip, sometimes scammers can be highly educated and meticulous at their task. If you only look out for poor grammar, then you may still fall into a scam.
Myth #2: Scams are not common
For humans to survive, we need to be oblivious. “Yes, the problem exists, but it won't happen to me.” In the world of psychology, it is called the optimism bias.
There is nothing wrong with being optimistic. However, you cannot deny the fact that scams are quite common. In fact, as per Business Insider, every one in ten individuals ends up falling for a scam. In 2018 alone, the figure increased by 34 percent.
Considering the increase in data breaches and hacking incidents, it is safe to assume that 2020 would not deviate from this trend.
After the famous Facebook data breach scandal, people have become more cautious about their online presence. However, since various other types of scams exist, having an optimistic attitude is not always the best line of defense.
Myth #3: Scams don't cause significant economic loss
Many are aware that most scams tend to have an economic impact. However, they underestimate the magnitude of the loss. According to Crowe, the global economy experienced a loss of over 5 trillion USD in 2019, owing to different types of fraud.
On an individual level, scams that feature less monetary loss on the outside can be more problematic for the user. For instance, take the airG scam into account. People subscribed to Vodafone and Telstra ended up being billed for a chat service they didn't remember consenting for. Since the amount deducted wasn't much, it was easy to overlook it. While airG was quick to take action, illustrated transparency about the process, and reversed the issue, not all service providers are like that. Therefore, it is vital to keep a lookout for small losses to prevent big ones.
Myth #4: There isn't much benefit to reporting scams
Since there are so many scammers out there, each operating in different niches, including email, identity theft, data breaches, third-party spamming, etc., many consider that reporting scams are merely a hassle and don't benefit anyone.
However, according to the CBB research of 2016, 49 percent of reports on scams end up helping others. This is because it can aid in spreading awareness about the existence of such malicious attempts.
For instance, if users were aware that clicking on ads within a given app can end up leaking data, they are less likely to act. Similarly, if a site is reported by people for monitoring and using visitors' information, cautioned people are less likely to visit it.
Myth #5: Once you have fallen for it, you cannot rectify it
There are various methods available to protect yourself from scams before you fall for them. This includes using multiple email addresses and using the rarely used one for signing onto websites. But, what about if you have already fallen for a scam. Is there no way out?
It turns out there is!
Depending on the nature of the scam, you can report it to the cybercrime cell of your country. If it is against a third-party provider, you can contact them directly to resolve the issue. In case the company doesn't address your complaint, you can get in touch with an ombudsman.
The best protection against all that is evil is being well-informed. If you know what pitfalls there are, you are less likely to fall into them. So, dispel myths surrounding spam. Research and learn as much as you can about them.
With information as your weapon and caution as your defense, you will not have to worry about suffering from data or monetary loss because of scammers.