Difference Between the 3 Popular Online Scams You Should Avoid

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Difference Between the 3 Popular Online Scams You Should Avoid

Trojan horses, malware, phishing, spam; what are all these?! You may be confused with what they all are and how do you tell the difference between them? BolehVPN breaks down the most common popular online scams which seem to stick around year after year.



One of the main scams to look for at the moment is phishing. No, not fishing, so no fishing pole, no water and no nets here.

A common example of phishing is when somebody sends you an email or an SMS pretending to be from a reputable organisation like your bank or credit card provider, and then they ask for personal information like your bank details or passwords.

Many phishing messages will try to get you to click on a link or open an attachment.


Hackers will deliberately get you to click on a link to ‘conduct your verification’ in the email. However, that verification link will lead to a web application designed to steal your private information.

Even if it looks like the real thing, just stop and think before you do anything. Be super sceptical and contact the organisation directly if you are not 100% sure.



Ransomware is another threat to avoid, so this involves malicious software that takes over your computer and locks up your files Criminals would then demand payment in return for your data.

Even if you pay that ransom, there is no guarantee that you are going to get your data back. So in actual fact, you become a greater target, because you have demonstrated that you are willing to pay.

Remember the Petya and WannaCry ransomware attacks? They were one of the biggest ransomware attacks to date, which disrupted global major corporations, hospitals and organisations, causing them to shut down their computer systems.. That is how critical ransomware can be.

(Read: Summary of the Petya Ransomware Cyberattack in 2 Minutes)



You might be more familiar with its more colloquial name “malware”. Hackers will try to install this software on your computer so they can get access to files with your information.

Unlike ransomware, malware operates unrequested and undetected. Malware is an umbrella term in itself which includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, rootkits, botnets and the list goes on. Nonetheless, they all work with one goal in mind: to hijack and take over your computer functions in order to conduct any behaviour an attacker wants.


A few tips for recognising an online scam:

  • Be wary of emails where people want something from you, like personal information, or money, and anything with a sense of urgency too.
  • Other warning signs are emails that do not use your name, emails that come from an unusual email address, or point to unfamiliar websites.
  • Most importantly, just be alert. Take your time, think, avoid clicking on links on emails and text messages, or check ads before clicking.
  • If in doubt, use other channels to connect to the company purporting to send the email, and verify its authenticity with them.
  • If you think the content of an email or text is probably too good to be true, the chances are you are right!
  • Keep a backup of all your important information just in case the worst happens.


Read also:

How To Quickly Spot Scam Emails: 5 Things To Know

Is Online Banking Safe? (And What You CAN Control About It)

The 5 Things You Should Never Do Online Without a VPN

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