By Jacob Aldrich

A Kentucky woman recently thought she had found a once-in-a-lifetime connection with Stranger Things star Dacre Montgomery after apparently  meeting with the star on an online forum. But she was dismayed when she found out she had been scammed, and even worse: she had left her husband and sent this scammer ofer $10,000 before she realized what had happened.

This is just one of the many instances where an unsuspecting individual is taken advantage of by a stranger on the internet who isn’t who they say they are and someone becomes a victim of an internet scam artist. We see it happen all the time and we wonder how this could happen to someone or what are the warning signs of these scams, so we can be better prepared. Here are just a few of the signs and actions to do if you or someone you know believes they might be engaging with a scammer.

Internet scams, also known as phishing depending on if they are targeting a business, can be covered as cybercrime activity that takes place over the internet or on email, and is designed to scam people out of money, time, or other valuable goods or information. Some of the tell-tale signs that someone could be trying to scam you are as follows

  1. They contact you out of the blue
  2. They claim there is some sort of emergency or urgent action needed on your part
  3. Asking for some sort of personal or confidential information from you
  4. They might be asking immediate questions to get you to wire or pay money to some sort of affiliation or company asa guise to get your money
  5. If you are dealing with an individual person, they may ask you to keep it a secret and deal only with them, telling no one else
  6. And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Be wary of whatever offers, prizes, or stipulations they try to throw your way.

Statistics show that these kinds of attacks are becoming more and more common and relevant as there were over 500,000,000 attacks reported in 2022, over double the amount reported in the previous year. There were also  over 300,000 confirmed victims of phishing attacks in 2022 alone, with losses totalling over $50,000,000. Taking active steps to realize the signs of potential scams, talking with someone trusted to back up this information, and remaining calm and collected even if the situation seems dire, are all important when dealing with situations like this.  And if you do happen to think you have fallen victim to one of these scams, don’t be afraid to take immediate steps such as calling your bank, reporting this event to whatever company they represented, or contacting the Federal Trade Commission for help. These events are preventable and taking the steps listed here can be very beneficial for you and  your loved ones.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Have you ever been contacted by anyone “famous”?
  2. What should you do if someone you met online asks you to send them money ?
  3. What should you do if you feel you have been a victim of an online scam?
  4. If you have a child, have they ever been contacted on social media, video games, or other networks by a stranger trying to make them buy or sell something?

Learn More:

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