De-Scamming Through Self-Consciousness

by Waseem Ahmad Bhat and Adil Qayoom Mallah

Corona surveillance

Online scams and frauds have become a major concern for individuals, businesses, and governments worldwide. The rapid growth of internet and digital technologies have provided ample opportunities for fraudsters and scammers to prey on unsuspecting victims. The youth are vulnerable to these scams due to their lack of experience and knowledge in the online world. Therefore, it’s important to understand the risks associated with online activities and the importance of hard work in achieving success. The rise of the internet and digital technologies have made it easier for scammers and fraudsters to target individuals and businesses. They use various tactics to lure victims, such as offering free gifts, discounts, and prizes, or pretending to be a legitimate organization. They may also use phishing emails, fake websites, and social media profiles to steal personal and financial information from their victims. The youth, who are more tech-savvy and spend a lot of time on the internet, are particularly susceptible to these scams. They may fall prey to online job scams, investment scams, romance scams, and other types of fraud. Many of these scams promise quick and easy money without any effort, which can be very tempting for young people who are looking for quick solutions to their financial problems. However, it should be brought in mind that there is no alternative to hard work when it comes to achieving success in life. The youth must understand that success comes from hard work, dedication, and perseverance. There are no shortcuts to success, and anyone who promises you easy money without putting in any effort is likely trying to scam you. Moreover, online scams and frauds can have serious consequences for the victims. They can result in financial losses, identity theft, emotional distress etc. Therefore, it’s important to be vigilant and cautious while engaging in online activities.

Online fraudsters recently targeted vulnerable youth in Kashmir through websites such as staroceanmall.com and gskfinancial.com. These websites lured the youth by offering incentives to help them increase their funds over a period of ninety days. The fraudsters also enticed the youth to recruit as many members as possible to receive a higher commission. Exploiting the youth’s eagerness to earn money easily and quickly without putting in effort, these websites became inactive after only fifteen to twenty days, resulting in the victims losing their earnings. Our colleagues have personally experienced this situation, and it should serve as a warning to the youth to be cautious and avoid falling victim to such scams. They need to comprehend that wealth is achieved through hard work, and there are no shortcuts to success. It is believed that it is not the scammers and fraudsters who carry out these immoral actions, but rather the lack of awareness among individuals, particularly the youth, regarding the malicious intentions behind such activities. If people fail to recognize that taking shortcuts cannot resolve their long-term financial problems, these scams will continue to occur frequently.

However, the role of cyber security institutions in addressing the pervasive issues of cyber-crime, scams, and frauds becomes significant. They bear the responsibility of preventing and mitigating the damage caused by such criminal activities. However, it is imperative to acknowledge that the onus also lies with individuals, particularly the younger generation who are more vulnerable to falling prey to these scams. They must take recourse to their self-consciousness to address such issues. And to effectively combat the growing threat of cyber-crime, it is also crucial that all stakeholders, including individuals and institutions to collaborate and work together. The institutions of cyber security share the responsibility to be vigilant and proactive in implementing robust security measures to prevent cyber-attacks and swiftly respond to any incidents that occur.

The Way Forward

The simple but significant way forward is to be wary of offers that sound too good to be true. If someone is promising you easy money or quick profits, it’s likely a scam. Do your research before making any investments or payments. Check the legitimacy of the organization or individual you are dealing with and read reviews and feedback from other users. Be cautious while sharing personal and financial information online. Never share your passwords, bank details, or social security numbers with anyone you do not trust. In this way you can minimize the damage to a greater extent.  At present, online scams and frauds are a serious threat to individuals and businesses, and the youth must be cautious while engaging in online activities. We conclude with Thomas Edison’s quote ‘there is no substitute for hard work’.

The authors Waseem Ahmad Bhat and Adil Qayoom Mallah are the Research Fellows at University of Kashmir. They can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected]

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