Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
The internet has been bombarded with scams since its availability to the public. One of the oldest scams on the internet is the Nigerian Prince Scam. We have all received an email or know someone who has received an email from a foreign country stating that you are some kind of long lost kin to someone like a Nigerian prince and his life is in danger or he has died and you are about to receive well over $100,000,000.00(US) or some other astronomical sum. All you have to do is send them your banking information and a thousand dollars for paperwork, money transfer, and other expenses.
There are numerous online scams that will cause you to send personal and financial information to criminals or to physically send them money. There is one scam I didn’t even know existed is called the Hitman Scam and has been around for several years now. In this scam, you get an email from someone who claims that he has been hired to kill you. You can also receive this scam by text on your phone. The message you can or have received will read something like this:
Sum1 has hired me to kill you. If you want me to spare you, I'll give you two days to pay $xxxx. If you inform the police or anybody, you will die, I am monitoring you.
This is a scam and as long as you do not respond to it by SMS or email, it will do nothing. These are sent out by bots that have retrieved your phone number or email from another source or unwittingly by you. The bots do not track who this message is sent to, as they are sent out randomly, unless you respond to it. DO NOT RESPOND TO IT! Immediately delete the email or the text message. However, if you truly fear for your life or the life of a loved one then call the police and let them know about it.
Another scam which I have received on numerous occasions is the Ransomware Scam. You receive this while surfing the web and suddenly a screen comes up with a very annoying tone and a computerized voice stating that your computer has been locked up due to a virus and that you must call an 800 or 888 toll free number with your banking or credit card information and you will receive a code to punch in to release your computer. I have used three ways to stop this nonsense and one of them is by shutting down my computer and then restarting it again. I realize that this is not good for your computer, to shut it down while surfing the web, but sometimes there is just no other way. Before you do this though, try to close out the offending screen. This may take a few attempts or may not work at all. The third option is to try and bring up your “Task Manager” by pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE. Then click on your browser that is shown up and then click on END TASK. This will shut your browser down without you having to turn your computer off and on. Once you have successfully taken care of this problem, run a malware and virus scan on your computer through your antivirus program.
When surfing the internet, opening email offers, etc…just remember that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Do your own research before taking anything at face value. Be smart, be safe.