Have you ever received a call from an individual claiming to be from your bank and urging you to divulge your information? Or maybe you visited a website, only to be told via a popup that there is a virus in your computer, which needs to be addressed instantly.
These are just a few of the many examples of spam out there.
One can say that this is a price you pay for all the benefits internet and connectivity has provided our generation. Think about it, as reported by Statista, 50 percent of the world’s population is online! This makes the channel one of the easiest mediums for hackers and frauds to target.
In fact, as per Business Insider, one of every ten US adults ends up falling for an online scam every year. And 23 percent of people suffer a monetary loss due to it!
Even if you think you are safe from them, you probably are not. After all, SpamLaws reports that 45 percent of all emails sent globally are classified as spam! And senders of such emails end up earning an average of up to $7,000 every day.
Therefore, there is an immense need to be aware of spams and the dangers they pose.
What are spam?
Take a look at the junk folder in your inbox – what you will find is a classic example of email spam.
Spam refers to all kinds of unsolicited and unwanted digital communication that are sent out in bulk to people. Generally, the objective of the content is to get people to subscribe to a service.
However, some spam threatens the safety of consumers by compromising their sensitive information or stealing their identity. For instance, it is common for you to get seemingly legitimate emails from Amazon telling you about a glitch in a delivery. When you click on the call to action, your ID gets hacked.
Other types of spasms include:
- Social Network spam: Fake Throwaway accounts are used to spread a spam link
- SMS Spam: A promotional message comes from a seemingly authentic number
- Push Notification Spam: Apps may incessantly send notifications to draw attention to their services
- Social Messaging Spam: Similar to SMS, some spammers may annoy people via WhatsApp or Snapchat
What might start as an innocent way to grab your attention can end up causing you monetary loss. Therefore, you must know how to differentiate and detect spam communications. There is a lot you can learn from incidents of the past.
A tale of caution
The incident regarding the airG spam can be used by brands and individuals alike to clear misconceptions regarding spam.
Generally, people are only ever cautious of people that seem suspicious. And their service providers don’t really fall into this category.
Yet, not too long ago, a lot of Telstra and Vodafone subscribers ended up in a third-party billing scam. They were charged for a chat service without consenting for it. How? Well, through clicking on a malicious ad or spam link online.
When the subscribers discovered that they were being charged for a service they don’t use, the matter was brought forward to airG. Luckily, the company took swift action to reverse the issue. To reinstate consumer trust, they made their billing process immensely transparent.
Lessons to learn
While airG as a brand was quick with its preventive measures, such is not always the case. Here are the key things you should always keep in mind.
- Keep your guard up against everyone
Just like this, you need to be cautious when using all third-party services. Even if a link is being sent by a verified brand, be careful about clicking on it.
- Check your bills
No one would be able to charge you for something that you didn’t consent to if you are well-aware of your different expenses and subscriptions. Make a point of checking them all every month. Go at it, subscription by subscription. If you see any anomaly in the amount charged, call the service provider.
Generally, telecommunication providers allow third-parties to sell their services to their subscribers, which, when done discreetly, can lead to the issue faced by airG. By telling the service provider, you can help them in tracking down any unethical promotions that might be tarnishing their brand image.
The fact that airG was quick to take action showcases that sometimes such spams occur due to technical or third-party vulnerabilities. In such cases, businesses are likely to rectify the issue when being told. Therefore, despite how small the discrepancy may seem, always report it to the service provider.
And in case the service provider isn’t of help, get the help of an ombudsman. You can also report it to the cyber cell of your country, depending on the severity of the situation. By doing so, you will prevent other users from falling into the same trap. For instance, CBB research claims that 49 percent of scam reports end up helping in widespread spreading awareness about the malicious attempts.
Parting Advice: Stay safe!
By now, you are likely thinking that the online world is a scary place. We deeply apologize for illustrating the dark side of the internet. However, being aware of the traps is the best way to avoid them altogether.
The online world has opened doors of opportunities for all of us. It would surely be an understatement to say that our generation is continuously witnessing a digital revolution.
To truly realize the benefits provided by the online world, it is equally necessary to know about its pitfalls. Know what links, emails, and popups to avoid. And whenever you come across a suspicious link or billing scam, report it to ensure that everyone has a safe browsing experience.
Read Dive is a leading technology blog focusing on different domains like Blockchain, AI, Chatbot, Fintech, Health Tech, Software Development and Testing. For guest blogging, please feel free to contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.