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7 of the Most Common Online Scams, and How to Avoid Them!

Cybercrime is an unfortunate part of our digital lives. Just as there are thieves in the real world, cyber criminals have used the Internet to prey on victims, stealing their credit card information, bank details, and other personal data.

Protect yourself by brushing up on the 7 most common Internet scams, which we’ve outlined below.

  1. Lottery Scam

In the classic foreign lottery scam, you receive an official-looking email congratulating you for winning a foreign lottery.

How do you know it’s a scam?

  • For starters, you can run a Google search to see if the “lottery” exists.
  • Another red flag is if the sender is a person and not the lottery corporation’s official account.
  • If your name is not in the “To” field, the message is most likely a phishing email hoping to snag a few gullible victims.

  1. Survey Scams

Survey scams are designed to entice you to participate in what looks to be a legitimate questionnaire for some cause, often related to the environment, politics, or social issues. But unless you’ve specifically signed up to be part of a survey mailing list, treat these emails as nothing but spam.

Oftentimes, such messages contain spyware or malware that installs itself on your computer, allowing cyber criminals to log keystrokes, collect passwords, and steal credit card information.

  1. PayPal and other Credit Card/Online Banking Scams

These scams are especially irritating because of how legitimate they can look. Users get an email from PayPal or their bank/credit card company, warning them of how their account was “breached” and requesting an immediate login and password change to prevent further access.

This causes users to panic and click on the email link to login to their account. However, the link doesn’t actually redirect users to the PayPal or bank’s website, but a false identical site. By logging in, you’ve just given away your email address/username and password to a cyber criminal.

  1. Mystery Shopper Scams

Designed to steal your credit card or PayPal information and other personal data, the mystery shopper scam lures in email users with a message promising a large sum of money in exchange for working as a mystery or secret shopper. The catch is that the “company” often requests money to be sent upfront to cover the costs of your training materials. Those gullible enough send money and wait for a package that will never arrive.

Just remember, if you never applied for a job, why would you be offered one out of nowhere?

  1. The Nigerian Scam

In this scam, users receive an email from someone with a fancy-sounding name like “Sir Ferdinand DuPont” or “Lord Arthur K. Smith,” requesting that you send a “small” amount of money to help him recover a large fortune from an overseas bank. In exchange, you’ll be sent a cut of the money, to be sent to your bank account. In the end, victims only send money not knowing they won’t get anything in return.

  1. Hacked Social Media Account Scam

Cyber criminals have been known to hack into social media accounts and message people on the friends or followers list of their victims to request for money or join in on a “business opportunity,” which they use to obtain their personal information.

Always be careful when receiving requests for money from your social media friends. Always verify such requests by contacting them through other channels to ensure their account wasn’t hacked.

  1. Online Quiz Scam

Online quizzes are a fun way to pass the time, but some of them have been known to cost people money without them knowing it. It starts with:

  • Users seeing quiz results on their friends’ social network feeds
  • Taking the same quiz
  • The quiz asks them to key in their phone number, which they do without reading the fine print.

What they don’t know is that some quizzes can add fees to their cell phone bills.

Have you fallen for any of these scams? Let us know how you dealt with it in the comments section below.

What Are Retargeting Pixels, And How Can You Use Them To Increase Sales?

In the old days, there was a lot more uncertainty when it came to doing business on the Internet. For starters, there wasn’t much you could to do track users. Sure, you could see where they came from, but not so much what they did on your site.

If someone visited your website, browsed through a product category, even placed an item in a shopping cart and left, the tracking process ended there. Even if said user returned, and say, completed that purchase, there was no way of knowing it was the same person. Yes, cookies can hold some information about these visitors, and likewise, a shopping cart login allowed you to save their purchase for when they come back.

But what if they didn’t? What if they cleared their browser’s cookies? What if they never registered with an account to use your shopping cart?Fortunately for you, retargeting and remarketing solved these problems.

Remarketing at a Glance

Remarketing refers to the process of tracking users even after they’ve left your site. Relax, it’s anonymous, that is, no personal information of any kind is being tracked. All you and other code on the Internet see is a series of numbers representing a User Session ID.

When a user visits any of your site’s web pages, it activates special remarketing coded called a Pixel, dropping a tiny bit of data on the user’s computer or device. It works just like a cookie, which it is.

Now, let’s say that user moves on to another website, like Facebook. They’re on the social network looking through pages and such, with Facebook collecting information about them as they normally do. Facebook sees that user having the pixel from your website, which they use to connect the dots and trigger an ad for that site.

This process doesn’t just work for Facebook, but hundreds of other sites as well. Of course, it only works if you run an online ad campaign targeted towards users with your pixels.

How Do You Use Retargeting Pixels?

While there are several ways to use retargeting pixels, the most method popular by far is to target users who have visited your product pages, and show them related ads on Facebook.
To start, you will to apply Facebook’s tracking Pixel to your product pages. IMPORTANT: Don’t place it on all your pages, otherwise you’ll end up retargeting people who visit your homepage or landing pages only to end up bouncing out.

If you want to run a more streamlined remarketing campaign, you can specifically retarget users who have visited your “added to cart” page. You can even add an additional string of code to exclude users who have converted into successful purchases, so you don’t remarket to people who made these conversions. This code is called a “Burn Pixel,” and offers a great way to maximize ROI.
Best Retargeting Practices

As with any online marketing campaign, there are some best practices to consider using.

• Set a cap on ad frequency to avoid flooding users with repeat ads. Remarketing only works if users are reminded of your site in a non-spammy manner. Don’t annoy and drive them away.

• Switch up retargeted ads periodically. Keep ads fresh and attractive to keep users interested in what you have to offer.

• A/B test your ads to determine which is most effective. Split test variations in copy, image, and even landing pages. When one ad or page works better, ramp up its visibility and perform another test.

• Continue to track users even after remarketing, taking note of each attempt’s rate of success.