Hacked or Scammed?
Hacking vs scamming – take this quiz with our cyber and data security mascot to know the difference!
Digital technology has undoubtedly made our lives easier, bringing a whole new level of convenience to everyday activities like checking our bank account balance and grocery shopping. Yet this increasing dependence on tech also means that there are more opportunities for bad actors to prey on potential victims.
Indeed, hacks and scams are on the rise in Singapore. For instance, scam victims here lost $633.3 million in 2021, 2.5 times the amount the previous year. There has also been a surge in the hacking of internet-linked household devices.
So what’s the difference between a hacker and scammer? Essentially, hackers use their technical ability in information technology to gain access to computers, devices, and accounts of their victims. Scammers on the other hand, trick their victims into giving them the same access.
It might not seem important to distinguish between a hack and a scam, but knowing the difference means you know how these crimes are committed and gives you a better chance of detecting and avoiding them. Think you can spot one from the other? Jaga, our cyber and data security mascot, will put your knowledge to the test with this handy quiz below!
Super Jaga to the rescue
You come across an online advertisement about the latest iPhone going for 30 per cent below the regular retail price. Clicking on the ad, you are directed to a site where you place the order and pay with your credit card. The iPhone never arrives.
Hack or Scam?
It’s a scam! The criminals never gained access to your computer or any of your usual online shopping accounts. Instead, they trick you into keying your credit card details into a bogus shopping website.
You open an email using your laptop that states your online shopping delivery is stuck in customs. You download and open a PDF attachment with instructions to transfer $200 to a bank account in order to facilitate your parcel’s clearance through customs. As you have not made any overseas purchases recently, you ignore the email. Over the next few days, you find that your laptop is responding slower and behaving erratically.
Hack or Scam?
It’s a hack! Although there are elements of a scam (hoping to lure you into transferring money) the main attack is the file you downloaded and opened, a malware that is surreptitiously installed into your computer and stealing your information.
You receive a message on WhatsApp promising pay for carrying out online activities. Intrigued, you indicate your interest and are added to a chat group with other purported workers. Your first task is to like an Instagram post “to boost the popularity of an online influencer”. After carrying out the task, $2 is transferred to your account. Next you are told to buy several items from an online shopping site and ship it to an address unknown to you “to generate user traffic and sales for the site”. You have to carry out the purchases with your own money but are promised reimbursement and extra money on top of that. After carrying out the second task, the promised payment never arrives.
Hack or Scam?
It’s a scam! Such jobs scams are increasingly common in Singapore and entice victims by giving successful payouts of small amounts at the start. The group chat with other purported workers also adds to the realism of the scenario, giving victims a sense that they are truly working with other people.
You install a CCTV system at home to monitor your kids while you are at work. One day, you receive a message stating that your CCTV footage has been downloaded by an unknown person and the videos will be leaked online if you do not pay $10,000 to a bank account. That person also claims to have gotten your computer password by viewing footage of you typing it while logging in. As proof that the threat is real, the message comes with snippets of footage taken in your home and the first few characters of your password.
Hack or Scam?
It’s a hack! Smart home devices are vulnerable to hacks and the police have been advising people to secure their devices by changing the default passwords, use two-factor authentication if available, and secure their home wifi networks.
You meet someone online and form a close, irresistible connection. You make plans to meet but a day before the date, he says he’s gotten into an accident overseas and urgently needs money to pay for his hospital bills. A picture of him in bandages arrives in your chat, followed by details on how to transfer him money in crypto. Yes, it has to be crypto because he’s lost access to his regular banking accounts.
Hack or Scam?
It’s a scam! Scammers take advantage of one’s feelings and then combine that with a sense of urgency conjured out of a fake emergency. Always be sceptical when asked to transfer money. Why didn’t that person turn to other family or friends? If you’ve never met in real life, chances are the person might not be who he or she claims to be.
How did you fare?
5/5 – Perfect! You’re up to date with the different forms of dangers online and can avoid such harm.
3-4/5 – Good, you’re familiar with cyber threats but some things may slip past you.
0-2/5 – There should be alarm bells ringing in your head! Your lack of awareness of scams and hacks make you vulnerable to them. Stay safe online by reading up more about scams and other information on preventing hacks.https://www.tech.gov.sg/media/technews/hacking-vs-scamming