DURING this post-pandemic period, although many people have gone back to face-to-face work, there are a number who have decided to work-from-home. This may be full time or in a hybrid mode depending on company policy or, at times, the preference of employees. Usually, this type of work requires most hours in front of the screen. Thus, this exposes us to many websites that are designed to scam us.
There are lots of websites with tempting offers of quick and easy money working from home. However in reality, they are likely to be from scammers looking to get gullible users to work for them for free and advertise their “business.”
This column from online security expert Kaspersky demonstrates the operation principle of several such schemes, and gives users tips on how to avoid falling victim to them. Below are some examples of scams to watch out for:
1. Websites that offer earning money for doing regular online activities: taking surveys, watching videos, playing games and other simple tasks. This is how scammers lure victims to one of the sites.
2. Websites offering part-time work doing regular online activities or overflowing with offers of easy-earning jobs. Scammers promise new recruits a whopping $200 a day. Plus a $25 signing-up bonus. Of course, there are numerous reviews from grateful “users” who have already become rich. But if you bother to read them, you’ll spot a lot of grammatical mistakes.
3. Websites with reviews from “users” who supposedly struck gold. To earn money on the “platform”, you are asked to complete various tasks, such as testing apps, playing games, sharing a link to the site with friends, and the like. In fact, all these “tasks” are just links to other scam resources. By visiting them, users create traffic to cybercriminals’ sites. This improves their position in search results. Cybercriminals may also have their own footfall KPIs (key performance indicators). When the victim tries to get their “money” (the home page promises that this can be done through popular services like Cash App, Venmo, PayPal and others), they discover they must first earn at least $200. Sure, you won’t see any payout even if you do “earn” $200 bucks. Nor can it be ruled out the scammers’ domain won’t simply be blocked before a user even tries—such sites have a very short lifespan. After getting blocked, the scammers will get another domain and launch the whole scheme again with new victims. The scam itself is quite international. Besides English, the cybercriminals’ website is available in nine other languages, although these versions look less professional.
4. Similar sites with a more primitive design but with a different mechanism for making money from naive users. Victims are offered two ways to earn. The first is to share the link and invite “referrals” to the website: you get $1 for every 100 people. What’s more, the site supposedly lets you withdraw funds after accumulating just $20. To earn this amount through inviting referrals, you need to attract 1,500 users to the site (you get $5 for signing up). Sounds hard, but things aren’t all that bad—you have a chance to earn $50 right away. But for this, you’ll have to play the scammers’ game by endlessly refreshing the page so that the two images match. They won’t of course. When the victim goes to the site, they are immediately asked for permission to display browser notifications. Through such schemes, the cybercriminals distribute ads for various other scams or relatively legit adult sites. That’s the main objective: to lure as many victims as possible who will give this permission. And the image-matching game helps the scammers boost traffic to their own site and improve their search visibility.
It is very tempting to click these sites even just out of curiousity. I hope this article is able to seriously warn you against any attempt to do so.
To avoid falling for online job scams:
- Don’t believe promises of easy money.
- Don’t enter payment information on dubious websites.
- Read tinyurl.com/4emx2yvk where additional tips can be found on how to spot scammers.
- Use a robust security solution that will warn you before visiting suspicious sites and keep your money and data out of cybercriminals’ hands.
Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company founded in 1997. The company’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection, specialized security products and services, as well as Cyber Immune solutions to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.
Image credits: Tai Bui on Unsplash