When you hear the word Scam, what comes to your mind? Is it the money you lost to con men and con women who called you, or is it the work you did via a website you signed up on with the hope of getting payment and ended not getting paid.

How did it start? Its a fact, anyone can get scammed. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have online. Scammers study their victims complaints after every successful scam and mutate to another fresh scam targeted at the same victims. And guess what, many still fall for it.

Watch Video – Do Scammers Play a Role in the Evolution of Online Ecosystems

Oxford dictionary define SCAM as a ‘dishonest scheme; a fraud.‘ There are several scams online and can only be defined based on the context in which it occurred.

Scam Adviser and GASA (global Antiscam Alliance) define scam as a situation when the gap between the promise and delivery is huge.

The number of scams reported currently stands at 293 Million with online scam being the 2nd most reported type of crime in many countries globally. This is according to Scam Adviser and GASA insights report.

How People Meet Scammers Online

Scammers are great marketers who take advantage of popular recurring events, crisis and trends to execute their plan. A good example is the popular Netflix series Squid Game Scam. Squid Game crypto token siphoned $3.4 million in 5 days from unsuspecting users and vanished. Here is a list of annual events that people should be vigilant of when looking for services online.

  1. Popular Annual events – Valentine, mothers day, fathers day, holidays, Christmas and new years.
  2. Crisis – Corona masks, vaccines, bush fires, Ukraine war, General elections, Big companies promotions e.t.c.
  3. Trends – Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin Mining, E-commerce, NFT’s, Energy crisis, Real Estate investments.

Categories of Online Scams

  • Attempts to gain your personal information
  • Hacking
  • Identity theft
  • Phishing
  • Remote Access Scams
  • Buying or selling
  • Classified scams
  • False billing
  • Health and medical products
  • Mobile premium services
  • Pyschic and clairvoyant
  • Online shoppers scams
  • Overpayment scams
  • Dating and romance
  • Fake charities
  • Investments
  • Betting and sports investment scams
  • Jobs and employment
  • Pyramid schemes
  • Threats and extortion
unrecognizable person in a black hoodie typing
  • Ransomware and malware
  • Threats to life, arrest or other
  • Unexpected money
  • Inheritance and unexpected money
  • Rebate scam
  • Travel, prizes and lottery scams
  • Unexpected prize and lottery scams.
  • Travel prize scam.
  • Scratchies scams.

Data compiled from https://www.scamwatch.gov.au

While every nation across the world is working hard to fight the scam vice, the speed at which they mutate is unprecedented. This begs the question, do scammers play any role in the online space? While I hate scammers, their presence have had a big impact in my life.

Here are 3 ways in which scammers have stimulated vigilance in various sectors of the economy.

1. Scammers Have Stimulated Security Innovations

Web service providers have continued to enhance their security frameworks in their platforms based on reported cases of fraud by users. This is aside creating awareness to their consumers of how scammers work and how they can protect themselves.

Many online security innovations have largely contributed towards elimination of scammers from interfering with various online business infrastructure. Such security inventions include introduction of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)Technology, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DDaaS), Firewall, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) and more.

While this comes at price, its worth every penny for anyone who wants their business, service or users protected from malicious scam attacks.

2. Emergence of Security Agencies to Investigate And Prosecute Offenders

Many countries today have an Agency that monitors and prosecutes people found guilty of online fraud. In Kenya, this is done by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI). They have a special unit that investigates and prosecutes offenders found guilty of this vice.

At the moment, they investigate on reported cases of scam by individuals and business entities. Those found guilty of scam are judged and prosecuted.

3. Users Are Now Vigilant

After a user has experienced hacking of their e-mail and social media accounts by scammers, they become enlightened and vigilant. From then, they are more willing to cooperate with the platforms security recommendations.

With various scam awareness campaigns being sponsored by various social media sites, email service providers, mobile service providers and popular online platforms, users have now found a way to easily report all suspected cases of fraud.

Users are also now wary when e-mailed or called by impersonators.

Conclusion

Scam remains an illegal yet profitable and risky activity to engage in. No one will ever see the value that scammers add to the growth of online ecosystems unless it was ethically done e.g. Ethnical hacking. For those who engage in it, it is a matter or life and death.

It is notable to mention here that not every victim of scam will report to the responsible authorities. Some will instead take law on their hands and punish the offenders. In some occasions, they kidnap the offenders, kill them and throw their bodies in the wild.

It’s important to note the existence of dark web where a lot of illegal activities take place. But that is a story for another day.

I hope you found this article insightful.

Do you think scammers play a role in the growth of online ecosystems?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

And until next time, bye bye and take care.

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