Internet: The Safe Haven of Thieves


Jay Park, Staff Writer

  Only half a century ago, if someone was going to steal money, they had to commit. When robbing a bank, he/she dedicated countless days to planning and preparations, all the while risking their lives in the slim hopes of a successful heist. Now, he/she can make a quick thousand dollars online by deceiving vulnerable adults with seemingly authentic scams that take advantage of people’s greed.

  Whether or not you are gullible enough to fall for these textbook internet frauds, you should know that these scams are everywhere you click, even on trustworthy sites such as YouTube. You may not be swindled monetarily, but some of these virus infections are just as devastating.


  1. Your Long Lost Nigerian Cousin Wants Your Help

  It’s an unsuspecting email that turns up in your inbox. Written is the long and heart-breaking story of the car accident of a rich oil tycoon and his family described by the family’s lawyer. But wait, there’s more. The oil tycoon has chosen you, a completely unrelated stranger, as the sole deposit of $42 million dollars. Hurrah! All you have to do on your part is to pay a small initial fee of a thousand dollars to claim your rightful inheritance.

  Ridiculous, isn’t it? However, not everyone who sees such an offer shakes their head like you do. The scammer has sent hundreds of millions of emails like this to everyone, and some of them do reply. The only reason this scam is continued is because it is so profitable, generating $13 billion dollars annually.

  1. You’ve won an iPhone 7!

  Now this is something that everyone has experienced at least once in their life, and maybe it even prompted you to click it. A brightly lit advertisement flashes about you, the seven hundredth visitor to the site, has won the newest iPhone model. Once clicked, it leads you to a believable website with official Apple logos and designs, prompting you to finish a survey. Personally, when I fell for this, I was going through the survey, carefully filling out each answer, mesmerized by the iPhone waiting for me at the end, except there wasn’t an end. It continually takes you to newer and fishier questions. These websites profit off hosting various surveys of different companies, and making money everytime you, a human customer, answer a question. It extracts your personal info and uses it to haunt you in advertisements later.

  1. Something Malicious Inside the Link

  Links can be your best friend and your worst enemy on the web. That long line of blue letters has the power to send you anywhere, but that anywhere could mean straight to a virus website. Sometimes it is obvious that your computer has downloaded something unnatural from the website, or many times, you don’t realize it until it’s too late. A very popular malware, ransomware, has been known to lock your computer down, preventing you from accessing anywhere on your computer. It then asks you to pay a large fee to free your computer, and at the same time, acquires your credit card information. Or other times, it takes the liberty of sending the same links to all your friends in your contact list. The messages will be from you, and your unaware friends will click them, becoming host for more viruses.

  1. Online Pop-Up Threats?

  While you are casually surfing through the Internet, sometimes you might run into pop-ups: not just one, but several hundred. They will prevent you from closing out of your browser, countlessly spamming you that it is the FBI, stating that you’ve been arrested for illegal online activities. At first, you might be intimidated and outright confused, but then realize that they want a payment of several hundred dollars, which makes its genuity doubtful. Normally these come up from accidentally clicking on sidebar ads.

  Another similar version of this scam would be a pop-up from your own system saying a virus has been detected. It declares that the state of your computer is “critical,” all the while with sirens ringing from your speakers. It declares that in order to resolve the situation, you have to upgrade to its full-version or risk compromising your computer. Of course it is false alarm, set-up by a false program. The message and sounds are meant to make you panic, but what you should be doing is looking for a solution


  For how dangerous they are, scams and viruses can be easily prevented by taking appropriate measures. By being cautious with your clicks on the internet, not giving your email freely, and using basic common sense, you can be completely safe from being deceived by scammers. It also doesn’t hurt to have a strong anti-virus program with virus scans like Avast or AVG to make sure that your computer is safe, all the time. Just in case you do become tempted by an offer online, remember that scammers exploit the greed of people who want something from nothing. Just ask yourself if it is too good to be true, and you will find your answer.