Cybersecurity threats are always increasing and scammers are developing more sophisticated methods every day. By targeting people’s emotional weaknesses and psychological reactions, cybercriminals use various tactics to deceive their victims. Fear, which plays an important role in the lives of many people, especially the concept known as FOMO (i.e. Fear of Missing Out), is a weapon frequently used by scammers.
So how do cybercriminals actually use your Fear of Missing Out? What do scams based around FOMO look like? And how can you stop yourself falling for them?
How Do Scammers Use FOMO?
FOMO is a fairly common concept in modern society and is an emotion that many people feel in their daily lives. Scammers use various tactics to manipulate this psychological state.
- Fake limitations: Scammers try to get the attention of victims with attractive offers for a supposedly limited time or amount. For example, they make people rush with phrases like “Hurry to take advantage of this 24-hour discount”. These limitations encourage people to act out of fear of missing out on a good deal.
- Social media pressure: Scammers use social media platforms to make victims feel like they are missing out on the lifestyles of others. They emphasize the attractive aspects of life, such as luxury travel, expensive shopping trips, or attending popular events. This encourages people to be tempted to take part in false opportunities.
- Pressure to act collectively: Scammers try to expedite victims’ decisions by encouraging the idea that something is particularly popular. For example, “Millions of people are participating in this investment: you don’t want to miss it, do you?” They push people to act under peer pressure—keeping up with the Joneses, if you will.
Examples of FOMO Scams
People who act out of FOMO can easily become victims of scammers. Let’s examine the issue of cryptocurrency fraud, for example. With cryptocurrencies growing in popularity, cybercriminals are trying to exploit people’s dreams of getting rich quickly. Fake cryptocurrency projects promise huge returns, enticing people to invest in them.
Another example takes place during the holiday season. During the festivities, scammers offer fake holiday bonuses so people don’t miss out on cheap vacation deals in popular destinations. They persuade people to book at a limited time and place, but in reality, there is no such bonus or discount.
People who habitually shop online are especially sensitive to discounts that are apparently available for a short period of time. Victims who provide their payment information during supposed sales may have purchased on a fake website. That’s why everyone needs to know some simple tips to stay safe when shopping online.
How to Avoid FOMO Scams
To avoid FOMO scams, you simply need to use common sense, instead of acting out of fear of FOMO. If something appears too good to be true, it probably is. Instead of being hasty, do your research and base your decisions on a logical basis. Being cybersecurity conscious can help you recognize scam attempts. Avoid suspicious links, fake offers, and messages from unknown sources.
Finally, it’s important to get a second opinion from someone you trust before making any important financial or investment decisions. By listening to the perspective and experiences of others, you can make more informed decisions.