Online scam cases continue to pile up around the world. This year isn’t any different. In fact, there was a 30% growth in the monthly Internet scam incidents that were filed by American users during the first few months of this year from the monthly cases that were reported last year. This means from the 600 monthly Web crime reports in 2015, over 800 scams were filed this year.

Many Web security analysts and ecommerce development groups in the USA also predict an astounding 125% growth in credit card fraud and other online scam incidents in the next couple of years. This means from the $8 billion of losses due to card not present scams in 2014, this will balloon to $19 billion losses because of identity theft and credit card fraud by 2018.

So, why should you keep at pace with the newest online scam cases today? Simple. If you know which exact online places are many of these fraudsters prowling in search for their next victims, then you’ll be able to avoid or be more wary when you spend time in the same online places.

If you also know what they’re doing, then you’ll be able to arm yourself with sufficient knowledge to quickly spot and safely prevent yourself from being lured by their tactics. You’ll also be able to better identify the right tools and methods that you can use to avoid these scammers and their online scam traps.

With this, found below are the most widespread online scams in the USA today. Don’t forget to share this with your family and friends, so they can also be more aware of these fraudulent schemes on the Web this year.

Most Prevalent Online Scam Tactics in the USA This Year

  1. Online Dating Fraud – The criminal syndicates that operate this online scam target married middle-aged male and female users who hang out in the most popular dating sites and apps in the USA today. They lure them with irresistible profiles and enticing messages. These scammers try to establish an intimate relationship with their victims in these online dating platforms.

Once they’ve baited and hooked their victims, these fraudsters then move in for the kill. They convince their victims to take their intimate conversations outside the dating site or app to a platform where they can manipulate their text conversation and voice chats. These are normally in the private messaging threads of popular social networks like Facebook, and through widely used instant messaging tools with VoIP features like Viber and Skype.

To finish off this online scam, these fraudsters threaten to publish screenshots of their chat logs and MP3 recordings of their voice chats with their victims all over the Internet. They also threaten to send these screenshots and recordings directly to their victim’s spouse, children, employer and friends. Of course, as expected – In exchange for their silence, they ask for a hefty sum of money to be sent via cash-only remittance outlets and money transmitters.

  1. Phishing Scams – This online scam is designed to trick unsuspecting users into entering their account credentials, personal details and private information into fake websites. These illegitimate Web platforms are exact clones of popular banking sites, ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Webmail portals like Gmail and online social communities like Facebook.

These phishing messages are laced with fake urgency claims and scare rhetoric, which deceive unsuspecting users into thinking that they need to log into their accounts and update their profile details. Of course, these phishing messages also contain links that send victims to these fake websites. Once they enter their credentials and private details, these websites log their inputs and send these to a designated Web server network. This is where these fraudsters harvest the stolen information. That’s how this online scam works.

They use these stolen details to steal money from the accounts of their victims. They also sell these as fake identity packages in the Deep Web where other criminals can use it for their illegal activities. Many of them use these fake identity packages to buy prohibited products from the Deep Web, such as illegal porn, drugs and firearms. To get as much victims as possible from this online scam, they also use these stolen details to send out the same phishing messages to the contacts in the hacked Webmail and social network accounts of their victims.

Now that you know the most widespread online scam tactics in the USA this 2016, you’ll be able to quickly spot and safely avoid these cyber traps. Do you want to share other Internet scams that you know? Feel free to do so in the comments box below.