Online scams

An online scam refers to a scam in which attackers use malicious e-mails or malware to try to obtain the victim’s personal data or cause material injury to them

You probably often receive e-mails about winning the lottery or a business opportunity. It is best to delete such e-mails without opening them because these are usually scams.

Winning the lottery

A type of scam in which the target receives an e-mail about winning the lottery and is requested/instructed to send their personal data or a copy of their passport or driving licence, address, telephone number and account number to the sender—usually from Great Britain or Spain—to be able to receive their winnings. If the “lucky winner” sends their data, they will again receive an e-mail, this time instructing them to contact one of the European committees competent for game of chance winnings in relation to, of course, obtaining an approval for disbursement of the winnings. The “lucky winner” will again be requested to provide their personal data, identical to the data they have already sent for the lottery which they have won.
After the “winner” sends their data once again, expecting to receive their winnings, the so-called commission will request payment of a fee, after which the winner will finally receive the winnings.

If the “winner” pays the fee, the scammers have succeeded in their intention, as this is the purpose of the scam. In other words, once the so-called winner pays a certain amount of money, the other side breaks off contact as they succeeded in their intention—they scammed somebody into paying them a certain amount of money. 

The best protection is to not fall for such enticing e-mails, but if it you happen to send you data, stop there, because the most important thing is not to pay the so-called fee.

Identity theft

When a person sends their data, after some time, they start to wonder about whether that was legal, will somebody abuse their account or falsify their data. There are such risks; however, the chances of that happening are realistically very small, since it is much simpler to convince the target to pay some amount of money than to put in effort into falsifying data, especially based on photocopied documents.

However, even a small chance of a risk occurring can make it too much of a risk. Based on the data provided by the target (personal data, home address and workplace address, information on the immediate family, etc.) can be used to forge documents and “steal the identity” of the recently lucky winner.

Our advice is to delete such e-mails right away and thus help prevent such types of scams. Also, your personal data belongs only to you, so do not easily share it with unknown persons, especially online.

Nigerian e-mails

At first, these e-mails seem like amazing “business offers” from, for example, various current or former state officials of African countries who need help with transferring money—and always large sums of it—which was left trapped on their accounts because they were removed from their office or exiled from their country. Of course, in exchange for help, the helper is enticingly offered 20 to 35 percent of the sum from their account once the money is transferred to the helper’s account.
The so-called African officials obtain the potential victim’s names from various sources; that is, from the media, business magazines, websites, etc.

They focus on individuals instead of companies to avoid complex procedures of signing a contract for the potential transaction. There are always several e-mails. In the first one, the scammer asks for help and personal data, as well as bank and bank account information, while other e-mails are about discussing the details of the actual transfer.

Therefore, the victim who falls for this appeal for “help” is offered a certain percentage of the funds as a fee for providing the service of transferring the money. However, in reality, no transfer of money occurs. The victim is convinced to pay significant amounts of money for duties or similar charges to enable the disbursement of the said fee. For example, the scammer proposes to come to the helper’s country to discuss the details. Since their account is blocked and they do not have enough money for travel and additional expenses, it logically follows that they ask the helper to also help out with those “details”.

If the helper, expecting to receive the fee, sends the money for, for example, an airplane ticket and a visa, the so-called African official will no longer reply, as they received exactly what they wanted.

Not responding and deleting such e-mails is the best way to protect yourself from this type of scam as well.