Online fraud

There are scammers on the internet who want to steal your money or access your personal data. If they learn your last name, first name, patronymic, phone number, account passwords, passport data, bank card details, or other information, they can use it to access your mail, send messages on your behalf, and steal money.

At the same time, many companies and services require users to share their personal information. For example, when you place an order online, you usually give your last name, first name, patronymic, address, and phone number. When you subscribe to a newsletter, you leave your email.

It's up to you to decide whether you want to reveal your personal data to a specific service or company. To avoid becoming a victim of scammers, learn about different types of fraud and how to protect yourself against it.

Fraud types

Fake (phishing) emails

Scammers send you emails that look like official messages from banks, services, or other organizations. They request your confidential data, for example, under the pretext of verifying your account or activating a mailbox.

Their goal is to make you enter your password or card details into a fake form. As a result, scammers can acquire your personal information.

  • You receive an email with a link, offering you to earn money without investments or get a free service. After you click the link, a form opens asking you to enter your username, password, personal information, or card details. If you enter your data, you're at risk of becoming a victim of fraud.
  • You receive a message saying that your social network account was hacked. The message tells you to take urgent action: follow the link and log in. If you enter your username and password, scammers get them and take over your account.
  • You receive an email from a distant relative about a large inheritance. To receive the money, you have to pay a transfer fee or provide your card details. When you transfer money or reveal your card details, the scammer disappears.

To learn more about how to recognize phishing emails and avoid becoming their victim, go to the Yandex Mail Help.

Phishing sites

Phishing sites are fake sites that disguise themselves as real ones. When trying to access a popular site, the user may instead open a fake site that looks very similar to the original. All the data that you enter on this site (like passwords, bank card numbers, and passport details) end up in the hands of scammers.

Typical signs of a phishing site
  • Incorrect address.
  • No SSL certificate or an error during its verification (there's no secure connection icon in the address bar).
  • Broken or incorrect links on the page.
  • Outdated page design.
  • Absence of user agreements and a strange contact list.
  • Grammatical, spelling, and design errors on the page.
How users open phishing sites
  • By following a link from an email or message in a social network.

    A fake site's address is usually similar to the original one, though not exactly the same. For example, the link may say instead of scammers hope that you won't notice the difference.

    Sometimes, the link has the correct site address, but it still leads to another resource.

    Tip. Hover over the link and wait. The real link address is usually displayed in the lower-left corner of the screen. Compare it with the site address.
  • Through site substitution.

    If your device is infected with a virus, you may be redirected to a fake site when trying to access the original one. In this case, when you enter the real site address, you're taken to a fake website.

    Your browser can detect the fraud when checking the site's certificate. You won't see the secure connection icon in the search bar, or the browser may display a message saying that you're visiting a suspicious page.


    If you try to open an unsafe page, Yandex Browser blocks the connection.

    How to prevent malicious redirects

    There are two reasons why you might be redirected to malicious sites:

    • A virus can corrupt domain information in the DNS.

      How to protect yourself: if you use Yandex Browser, it already has a built-in DNS query protection as part of the Protect system. You can also use the free Yandex DNS service to configure the DNS.

    • A virus changes the system hosts file on your device.

      How to protect yourself: use an antivirus utility like Yandex Rescue Tool, Dr.Web CureIt!, or Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool.

      Tip. You can scan your entire device using free antiviruses.

      If the virus already made changes to the hosts file in Windows, you can fix this:

      1. Go to the C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc folder.
      2. Make a backup copy of the hosts file, then open the file in Notepad.
      3. Delete all lines except the following one: localhost
      4. Save the file. Restart the browser and try to open the site again. If it loads the page you were trying to access, the problem is solved.
      5. Save the hosts file to read-only to protect it from simple viruses that may infect your computer in the future. Right-click the file icon, select Properties, enable the Read-only option, and click OK.

Social media fraud

Social network scammers send messages offering to sell goods with a big discount or get a prize for a fee paid upfront, or messages asking for help. The purpose of such messages is to convince you to send them money.

  • You didn't find something in an online store and left a request for the item (or pre-ordered it) on a social network. The scammer finds you and offers to sell a similar product with a big discount. They ask you to pay the whole amount in advance. If you pay, they disappear without sending you the product.
  • Messages asking to borrow money are sent from your account on a social network. It's likely that you set a simple password to your account, and the scammer guessed it. Immediately change your password to one that is strong enough.
  • You receive a message from an online friend asking you to lend them money. It's likely that their account was hacked. A photo of a bank card with the friend's real name doesn't guarantee that the message is actually from your friend: scammers can fake such photos in graphic editors. Contact your friend through other channels and check the information.
Attention. There are many ways to steal data, so be careful when sharing your personal information.

Marketplace fraud

Scammers can act as sellers or buyers on marketplaces and ad sites. They try to redirect you to a phishing site or make you pay to a fake account.

  • You see an ad offering a product at a price that's much lower than the market price. The seller sends you a message and offers to continue the conversation on a social network or by email. Then, they send you a link to the payment page, and the page address appears very similar to that of the real site. If you enter your payment data on this page, the scammers will receive your money. On top of that, they'll get your card details too.
Tip. Many marketplaces block third-party links in messages. To avoid scammers, only use the official marketplace sites, communicate in internal chats, and don't click links.

Fraud (scam)

Some sites invite users to take a survey or fill out a questionnaire for a reward. But before they can collect the money, the participants are asked to pay a commission or registration fee. This money actually goes to scammers, and the users get nothing. Such sites tend to offer unreasonably large remuneration for simple tasks.

Some scams invite you to install software that “earns money by itself” or mines cryptocurrency, take part in a lottery, or receive financial help.

  • You see an ad about earning money online and click the link. The site asks you to register and answer simple questions. After you complete the tasks, the site displays a large remuneration that's allegedly yours. To get it, you need to pay a “confirmation deposit” or another fee. If you pay, this money and your payment data go to the scammers, and you get nothing.
  • You install a free program for earning money or mining cryptocurrency, but a message appears saying that you need to get a paid update. If you pay, your money goes to the scammers, and you won't receive any income. Moreover, the software is often installed along with malware that can steal your data.
  • You open a site where you can play the lottery or get financial assistance. You get a big win or someone agrees to help you. But in order to receive the money, you need to pay a transfer fee or make some other payment. If you pay, this money and your payment data go to the scammers, and you get nothing.
Note. Such sites sometimes post a disclaimer, for example, “We don't guarantee any earnings. The specified amounts are only estimates of your possible income”. Read all the explanations carefully if there are any.

Fraud prevention recommendations

  • Don't leave your smartphones and computers unlocked and don't throw away paper and data carriers (hard and removable disks, SIM cards, and SD cards) where passwords are stored.
  • If multiple people use the device, manage their access rights.
  • Don't store copies of identity documents in your email or make them publicly available: if scammers hack your email, they can use your personal data.
  • When using someone else's computer, go to private mode. If you can't do that, clear the cache and cookies after you finish. Or create a separate browser profile and delete it after you finish.
  • Run regular antivirus scans on removable drives, SD cards, and other storage media that you connect to other people's computers.
  • Don't enter personal information in suspicious boxes, especially in emails.
  • Don't open attachments and don't follow links that you receive by email or in messengers (like Telegram or WhatsApp) from suspicious senders. If they seem shady, add them to the blacklist.
  • Call the official number of the bank or other organization on whose behalf the suspicious message was sent and check the information.
  • Before buying anything online, check store reviews and ratings, seller accounts, and payment terms.
  • Only use the official marketplace sites, communicate with sellers or buyers in internal chats, and don't follow links to other sites and messengers.
  • Pay for your purchases only through well-known services and systems (for example, VISA, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal) where payments are securely protected.
  • If you're looking for a full-time or part-time job, don't trust sites where they ask you to pay a fee first. Real employers don't usually charge any dues.
  • Choose sites that use the HTTPS protocol rather than HTTP. Sites with the HTTP protocol are much easier to hack.
  • Before entering your login and password on a site, make sure that the browser address bar has the correct address. Phishing pages may have an address that's very similar to the real one (for example, instead of ).
  • Close the page if the browser displays a message about proceeding to a suspicious site.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for all your accounts. For example, in Yandex, you can do this using Yandex Key.

To learn more about online security, go to Computer protection.

If you have fallen victim to fraud

  • If money was illegally debited from your account, phone the bank to block your card and contact the police.
  • If you clicked a phishing link, do a full virus scan of your device. If you don't have antivirus software, use a free antivirus.
  • If you entered your password on a fake page, do a full virus scan of the device, then change the password, security question and answer. If you entered the password to your Yandex ID and lost access to your account, use the instructions for restoring access.