Internet fraud is as old as the internet itself but in the recent times, it’s has gained widespread notoriety as scammers keeps growing in numbers and are more active these days than before. They scammers are seriously taking advantage of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic because a large number of persons still relies on the internet for almost everything ranging from work or school classes to socializing and shopping.
Google has now launched a program aimed at helping internet users to spot scams and stop scammers from having a filled day going forward. In a blog post, Google’s VP and Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf noted that there have indeed been record-high scam reports in recent months, and according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), $1.9 billion were lost to scams just in 2019.
Several scams revolving around COVID-19 are said to have seen victims lose more than $40 million to fraudsters. In addition, highly plausible scams about overdue payments or bogus contest winnings are reportedly causing trusting internet users to lose over $3,600 every minute.
The search giant is thus launching the Scam Spotter program to educate internet users on identifying and preventing scams. All details of the program can be found at ScamSpotter.org. The Google VP advises that we all share the website with friends and family members, especially with seniors who research have shown lose the most from scams.
The program’s teachings revolve around three simple rules to consider when dealing with a suspicious email, phone call or message:
- Slow it down: Are they telling you it’s urgent? Take your time and ask questions to avoid being rushed into a bad situation.
- Spot check: Are they claiming to be from a specific institution? Do your own research to double-check the details you’re getting.
- Stop! Don’t send: Are they asking you to go to the store and get gift cards? If you think a payment feels fishy, it probably is.