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Fraud on the net

3 minutes reading time
6-17 years
Social Media
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“You’ve won!” – You’ve probably read this sentence in an email or elsewhere on the web. Most of the time, such a message does not hide a profit but a scammer who wants to get your personal data or money.

Fraud is at least as widespread on the Net as elsewhere. Scammers often target adults, but children and teens can also be targeted. Our examples and tips should help you protect your child from scammers.

Fake sweepstakes

With fake sweepstakes, e.g. on Facebook, scammers try to obtain sensitive data which they then sell. Data merchants buy data to send spam emails or targeted advertising, for example.

Fake sweepstakes are often distributed by a seemingly reputable company. The fake account looks very real. In supposed sweepstakes from Ikea or McDonalds, you can supposedly win valuable prizes. Sometimes the scammers are interested in grabbing personal data such as addresses, phone numbers or bank details. In many cases, they also announce winning a prize that doesn’t even exist. To do this, you need to register on a website and enter data to get the prize. Before entering a sweepstake, it therefore makes sense to research who is behind it and whether the sweepstakes can be genuine, e.g. using a search engine. A list of fake sweepstakes is available at mimikama. You can read more about sweepstakes on YouTube & Co. in our article.

Phishing e-mails

Scammers can also be behind emails promising a prize. This is called “phishing.” Often it is not difficult at all to expose such scams. It is usually enough to take a closer look at the provider: Is it an official provider with an imprint? Is it a verified account (recognizable by a blue checkmark on Facebook)? In any case, it is advisable not to respond to suspicious emails in the first place or pay anything. Ask your acquaintances whether others have also received such an e-mail or what they think of it, and do your own research on the Internet.

Fraudulent online stores

Fake online stores can hardly be distinguished from real ones at first glance. However, there are usually particularly favorable prices here. Often, the products that are offered do not even exist. If you order something, either cheap goods are sent or nothing at all. Delivery problems are feigned or you simply never hear anything from the provider again, but your money is gone.

To unmask fake stores, it helps to take a closer look at the provider: Is the Internet address suspicious? Do I have to pay by bank transfer before receiving the goods or are there more payment options, e.g. on account after delivery of goods? If something seems weird to you or your child, you better be careful and refrain from buying from this store.

Subscription traps

There are many free offers on the Internet: For example, coupons, templates or apps are provided free of charge. But in some cases, scammers try their luck here too. In the case of services that appear to be free of charge, users are asked to provide personal data and accept the General Terms and Conditions (GTCs). There can be cost traps in the fine print. If you check this box too quickly, you may unknowingly sign up for a paid subscription.

To avoid falling into subscription traps, it makes sense to ask yourself beforehand why data is being requested for a free service. If it is already too late, templates for forms for withdrawing from online purchases can be downloaded from the consumer center. Browser extensions that you can download from Web of Trust, for example, detect fraudulent sites and warn you.

What can you do to protect your child?

Make your child aware of the dangers of online fraud. Talk about the fact that on the Internet, especially when personal data is to be entered, someone may want to use this data with bad intentions. You can find more information on how to protect your child’s data here. Agree that your child must ask you if he or she wants to download or buy anything on the Internet or enter a sweepstakes. Your child should always be able to come to you if they have fallen into a scam trap. Make it clear to him that in such a case there is nothing to be ashamed of and you will find a solution. In addition, you can obtain information and advice from the consumer advice center, for example. Contact the police in serious cases of fraud. This can also be done on the Internet via the online guards.

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