There seems to be a full on assault right now of shady characters desperately trying to get a hold of the $11.60 I currently have to my name. It’s almost enough to make me nostalgic for the long narratives and promises of millions of dollars inexplicably left to me by Nigerian princes. Your modern scammer has a legit looking website, a tight script and sometimes even knows the difference between ‘their’ they’re’ and ‘there’. So how can you tell the difference between a genuine call or email and a big, old fake? Well here’s a quick guide to staying safe from these cheeky wee scamps.
The scam – Phone scams are doing the rounds again but would be thieves are starting to cotton on that people aren’t falling for fake Microsoft techs or “account managers” anymore. Instead there’s a simple system of ringing your phone once then hanging up. When you see the missed call on your phone you naturally ring back to see what’s up. Unfortunately you’ll be ringing a premium line that charges an obscene amount of money per minute and you won’t know about it until your next phone bill.
How to avoid it – Don’t ring back any numbers you don’t recognise or can’t verify, especially those that look like they’re from overseas. Phone your provider and tell them you have been receiving scam phone calls. There’s not much they can do at this stage but it helps them if they’re aware of how many people are affected.
The scam – emailing you posing as a legit company such as Paypal, Amazon, a bank or credit card company. The emails have a vague script, usually something about some sort of irregular activity on your account and providing a link for you to click to provide personal details which scammers then use to access your real account.
How to avoid it – If any apparent service provider emails you DO NOT use any of the links or phone numbers provided in the email. Bring up the legit website and contact them through that to see what’s happening.
The scam – Nicknamed the ‘too good to be true ruse’. They go along the lines of “Make income from browsing Facebook. Message me for details” or “Win a brand new Lamborghini worth more than you’ll make in your lifetime simply by signing up for this thing” If it’s all pros and no cons along with huge rewards for very little effort it’s likely not legitimate. Sorry kids, life rarely works that way unless you’re the silver-spoon offspring of an industry tycoon.
How to avoid it – Anything that seems to good to be true likely is but it’s worth checking out further. If you can’t find anything concrete about the company or offers, trash it.
In addition to the above never answer any online quizzes or games with personal information such as your mother’s maiden name, the street you grew up in or any other details that could be used to answer security questions. Although many of these games are used to simply direct web traffic to a particular page, unscrupulous types could be watching so be careful about the personal data you put on the internet.
Make sure you’re looking out for any vulnerable friends, family and members of the community that may be susceptible to this type of fraud. Share this post and you could be in to win the Island of Hawaii*