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Internet’s Infatuation With Scams, Part 1

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1 month ago

The internet is a miraculous thing. We can shop, bank, work, research, and entertain ourselves all from the comfort of our homes. But with all its benefits, the internet has also created a breeding ground for scams. In the last 12 months, I was rugged twice, conned by an elaborate work-from-home once, and experienced my first ever Telegram group spoofing a week ago. Between the four incidences, I have lost approximately two thousand dollars. At this point, I am a little pissed off at the swindlers and a bit disgusted with myself. It's beginning to feel like a curse, so I figure I need to do something before it worsens. 

By the way, Reader, you shouldn’t feel sorry for me. I’m writing this to learn because it requires that I do research. And hopefully, by putting it all into words, I can get the points through to long-term memory. At the same time, I want reasons why scams are so prevalent on the internet and is it my personality that makes me prone to be a victim? 

Internet’s infatuation with scams

The Internet is a vast and wonderful place and home to some of the most insidious and damaging frauds. Doesn’t it make you wonder what’s so enticing about scamming on the Internet? My recent experience with cybercriminals has compelled me to dig a little more. 

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Lucrative Cybercrime

Scams are prevalent on the internet because they are lucrative. Internet crooks rely on social engineering techniques to exploit the trust of their victims. They may use phishing emails, spoofed websites or phone calls, and even malware to steal login credentials and financial information. “Financial” is the keyword here. Imposters go through the trouble of scamming people on the internet not to steal that person’s dog or vehicle but to rob them of money. By 2025, Internet robbery will account for $10 Trillion, as suggested by Cybercrime data (ref. #2). 

Anonymity Require

The anonymity of the internet is a necessary factor for users with malicious intent. Cons don’t want to get caught, nor do they wish their mothers to know. Because of this, professional cons will take extra precautions to mask everything about them, especially their location. Anonymity allows the dark side of individuals to come out and operate with impunity. Do you agree, Reader? Truthfully, I must say how tempting it is to run with the underworld of cybercrime. It’s proven so lucrative, and it seems so easy. But knowing myself, I choose not to because walking down that road would end dreadfully for me. Although the more I think about it, I’m not having much luck on the other side either. 

Anonymity, could it be eradicated from the internet altogether? Seeing how governments are very interested in conforming people, I’m betting that’s where we’re heading. Hopefully, Blockchains and Web3 will prove valuable in this space. 

Internet of the Naive and the Gullible 

Cyberspace is access to a vast pool of naive and gullible audiences. I mean no offense to you, Reader. But I understand how foolish most people can be, myself included. Many of us are just as likely to trust something online as though we heard it from a friend. I often wonder why I’m so inclined and eager to believe. Is it hope? Like taking risks in cryptocurrency and hoping I’ll make it too? Did Reader start writing on this platform in the hopes of quitting your day job, sort of like me?

Maybe Hope is too sacred a word to put into this context. Life is so complex, making me inclined to say that many things cause me to make naive decisions. Perhaps my aspirations, goals, expectations, and responsibilities make me susceptible to gullibility. Because rent is due, kids need feeding, and gasoline prices have doubled the cost of living. It's no wonder we, with greater responsibilities, push so hard and so often to achieve. We end up making more mistakes. Don't you think? 

With many factors to face, who has the time and money to be giving away time and money to scammers? None of us do. Yet many carelessly flaunt their lives online as if nothing could make them happier than others clicking the Like Button. Hmm. Maybe it's time to try my luck with the dark side. 

Spoofing; the new Copy-Paste

Scammers can easily create fake identities and websites that look legitimate. Merely moving the dot up one decimal place would do it. Spoofing is the term. For example, I’m a part of a SteamX Official Telegram group and have been for over a year. They’re a legitimate company, and the Telegram is quite active. Unfortunately, I hardly have time to pay much attention because there is other work I must do. I have the group on Mute because participants are overly active. Which is a good sign, right? Weeks would go by before I browse the chat, especially now that the crypto market is on the skids. So last week, I was suddenly receiving repeating notifications, like every 15 minutes, while focused on other things. 

The header of these notifications looked exactly like the official account, offering exceptionally high rewards for staking on BakerySwap. It just so happened they caught me at the most opportune moment, totally absorbed by other tasks. At a glance, the offer was not absurd and too good to let pass. The thought process going through my mind was– Official account offering high stake reward, go for it, else regret it later. It took a minute to connect my Metamask and transfer to the staking pool on BakerySwap. Thereupon, my SteamX tokens were goners. 

I realized my error within the hour and wanted to scream at Telegram, SteamX and urinate on the grave of BakerySwap. All of whom I felt were somewhat responsible. The scammers duplicated the Telegram group and the BakerySwap website with precision, nearly exact copies.

With all the innovation we have, aren't companies capable of catching these culprits? After all, it's their reputation at stake. 

No Face, No Shame

The ease of digital transactions makes it easy for scammers to steal money without seeing the faces of their dispirited victims. With no face attached, scammers never see the implications of their actions. Without that human connection, remorseful emotions could never arise. They only feel the excitement of getting away with it, an emotion as addicting as any drug. And we all know how difficult it is to rid ourselves of addictions. Easy money once, then easy money again, and again, until eventually, karma catches up. It gets easier to do each time because imposters have no shame and lack human decency and compassion. Surely their moms and dads didn’t raise them to be soulless like parasites. 

Apathetic Regulation

Scams of little value occur in the millions monthly. It’s incomprehensible to think any cyberpolice could keep up. Undoubtedly scammers are aware of this fact. The lack of regulation on the internet allows scammers to get away with crimes as long as there are people who fall for it. More than just the gullible, but the naive and the greedy participants are easy prey. Because they will always be a plethora of such people, myself included, and perhaps Reader too– scammers will continue to ply their trade in cybercrimes. Because scams occur in such great numbers, no law enforcement can keep up, while most don’t even try. 

Until valuable technology is available to the masses to protect themselves, authorities who have the resources will remain passive in the plights of the little guys. Filing an FBI or police report for my misgivings has yet served any form of justice on my behalf. If only we could track down the scammers ourselves, perhaps the frauds would be more reluctant. But for now, I take solace in knowing karma will hunt every one of them down.

End of part 1. Part 2 coming soon.

REFERENCES

  1. In 2021, IC3 continued to receive a record number of complaints from the American public: 847,376 reported complaints…

  2. 2021/2022 Data Analysis and Projections: 73 Important Cyber Crimes

  3. Hack Blotter: Cybercriminal Arrests and Convictions

  4. How do governments track cellular devices?

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