Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

What are the dangers from scammers?

You know the obvious one – you fall for a scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. and they take your soul and money.

But are their other dangers?

THAT IS A BIG FAT YES!

So what are they?

PROBLEM #1:

Access. To start with the obvious, by friending a scammer you give them access to your family and friends, even your children! This is how they prospect for more victims, like a leech they move from one victim to another. Most people do not have their friends list set to ONLY ME so usually all of your friends can see all of your other friends. It means you are like a disease carrier transmitting or infecting everyone you know.

SOLUTION: Stop friending people you don’t personally know. Also use what you have learned to help your friends and family clean out their friends list. If you help them, they can help others!

RULE: Never Friend Someone You Do Not Know In Person!

PROBLEM #2:

MalwareMalware Short for "malicious software," this term means computer viruses and other types of programs that cybercriminals use to disrupt or access your computer, typically with the aim of gathering sensitive files and accounts.. You know what this is right? Computer viruses! Scammers are involved in international malware distribution, because there is money to be made! RansomwareRansomware Ransomware is a type of malware from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim's personal data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system so that it is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion. It encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. In a properly implemented cryptoviral extortion attack, recovering the files without the decryption key is an intractable problem – and difficult to trace digital currencies such as paysafecard or Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are used for the ransoms, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators difficult. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan virus disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. However, one high-profile example, the WannaCry worm, traveled automatically between computers without user interaction. is becoming the most common, but there are others such as email BotNets. The scammer only has to send you a message that contains a link, and you will click it, right? Boom, you are now infected with Malware. If it is Ransomware it will encrypt and lock all of the files on your computer – if you did this at work, it can lock all the files across your who company network and YOU are responsible! If it is a BotNet, this is a kind of virusVirus A computer program that can replicate itself and spread from computer to computer or file to file. It comes to life only when you take a specific action, such as running a particular program. that sends out millions of emails – Nigerian Price emails, across the internet. These can get your internet access suspended or at the very least slow it to a crawl. There are others including keystroke recorders that let them get access to every account on your computer – email, banking, company, etc.

SOLUTION: Remove all your unknown friends, and don’t click on unknown links. Install GOOD anti-malware software such as MalwareBytes.

RULE: Never click on a link from someone you do not know and trust! Ever, ever, ever!

PROBLEM #3:

Blackmail scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost.. You gave the scammer access to your friends and family, right? So now they know a lot about you. Where you work, who your friends and family are. So one day they say they want some money or they are going to harm your reputation. They are going to message your family or your employer and tell them something serious – like you collect kiddy porn. Will they automatically believe you? There is only one thing you can do. Pay them? Right? NO!

SOLUTION: You immediately go and report this with the police, so it is on the record. So that no matter what they threaten you with, your report with the police will protect you in the end. Next notify everyone that the scammer might have had contact with about what is coming so that they are forewarned. This does not mean it will not be humiliating, but at least it will be manageable.

RULE: Stop giving scammers access to your life.

PROBLEM #4:

Sextortion. When you were online with your scammer you did explicit things. You are an adult and what you do is your business. But the scammer did what they do, and they recorded it. So now you have images or videos, or audio in the hands of a scammer and they want money.

SOLUTION: You have a choice here. Either way this will end messy. You can immediate go and report this with the police, so it is on the record. So that no matter what they threaten you with, your report with the police will protect you in the end. Next notify everyone that the scammer might have had contact with about what is coming so that they are forewarned. This does not mean it will not be humiliating, but depending upon what the scammer has, you may be able to manage it.

RULE: Use your common sense and don’t do stupid things with strangers where they can record them, such as on Skype or Facebook! Never send compromising photos to people you have never met in real life!

PROBLEM #5:

Kidnapping or Death Threat Scams. Again you invited the devil in the door, and displayed all of your family to them. They can see your spouse (yes many victims are married), your children, your parents, etc. As usual, the scammer wants money and does one of two things. They know that your kids are in school so they say they have kidnapped them and if you don’t give them money via your credit or debit card right then, they are going to harm them. Or in the case of Death Threats they simply say they know where you live and will kill your family. Of course it is all lies (in the case of the African Scammers – Russians are another story).

SOLUTION: Call their bluff – blockBlock Blocking is a technical action usually on social media or messaging platforms that restricts or bans another profile from seeing or communicating with your profile. To block someone on social media, you can usually go to their profile and select it from a list of options - often labeled or identified with three dots ••• them and ignore all messages from them forever. You should also report this you’re your local police, both so that they are aware of these crimes and just in case you need their help on this in the future.

RULE: Never Friend Someone You Do Not Know In Person! Disconnect immediately at the first hint of a threat and never connect again.

PROBLEM #6:

Becoming a Money MuleMoney Mule A money mule sometimes called a "smurfer," is a person who transfers money acquired illegally (e.g., stolen) in person, through a courier service, or electronically, on behalf of others (usually criminals that they are knowingly or unknowingly affiliated). Typically, the mule is paid for services with a small part of the money transferred - but not always. Mules may or may not be aware that they are performing these actions. Money mules are often dupes recruited online for what they think is legitimate employment, not aware that the money they are transferring is the product of crime. The money is transferred from the mule's account to the scam operator, typically in another country. Similar techniques are used to transfer illegal merchandise. Mules can be prosecuted for numerous crimes. or Money Launderer. What this really means is that you become an accessory to their crimes. The penalties for this can be very severe, including long prison sentences. It starts so simple, you have your fantasy relationship online, and then one day out of the blue they ask you for a simple favor. They bought something and wonder if you could send it to them – the overseas shipping it too high and you can get a better rate, or some such nonsense. Or maybe they are in business and someone needs to send them a check, but they don’t want it mailed overseas – so you could receive it and deposit it – then send them a money transfer from your account. The problem is that the checks are usually fake and you get stuck for bank fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim.. Or the products you receive were purchased using stolen credit card numbers and you are facilitating their crime and stealing from real people just like you!

SOLUTION: If you are in a relationship and someone asks you to do this, take the checks to the bank and let them tell you that they are fake. They will probably call in the police, but you will be doing a good think instead of helping a crime. In the case of merchandise, when it comes take it to the police and tell them you suspect this is credit card fraudCard Fraud Card Fraud is one of the most commonly referenced fraud definitions. It occurs when a fraudster uses a card (debit or credit) to make a purchase without the authorization of the cardholder. Card fraud can occur in-person or through digital channels. – they will confirm everything and you will be off the hook. Again you did the right thing!

RULE: Never accept or deposit checks you receive from strangers, or access money transfers from strangers. Never reship products that you get from strangers. Always go to the proper authority in all of these cases. Failure to report it can make you an accessory after the fact which is punishable by law.

These are just 6 of the potential problems that come from connecting with a scammer.

What is the fundamental rule in all cases?

Don’t talk to strangers! Just like your parents told you!

Also, you have a duty to always report these crimes. If the police need to be involved, swallow your pride and get off your butt and do it.

Also always report them to the SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS.™ Anti-ScamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. Data Reporting Network™ on www.anyscam.com or here on our website which can help report them around the world.

In summary, use your common sense and don’t friend scammers. From that beginning comes all the rest.

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