Unfortunately, scams are becoming more and more common nowadays. You have probably heard about a few yourself, as there have been plenty of stories in the news about them. Common scenarios range from women who’ve fallen in love with fraudsters and sent them lots of money to those who receive a call believing it is from their computer company and they end up giving the person on the phone remote access to their computer, which in turn allows them to hack their personal details. We all like to think that we’d never be that stupid to fall for a scam, but these criminals are becoming more and more advanced in their techniques, which is why so many people fall for them.
If something seems too good to be true…
You never know when someone could try to pull a fast one on you online! This is why you need to know how to spot a scam, which can be difficult, as they come in various shapes and sizes. The key is to play it safe; if something seems too good to true, it probably is! Here are some common signs that should act as a red flag:
You’re offered something that sounds way too good to be true – Nothing in this life comes for free!
You’ve won a competition, yet you cannot remember entering it – That’s probably because the competition doesn’t exist at all!
You are asked to make a payment upfront in order to claim something – Don’t hand over your money on a promise.
You feel under pressure to make a decision then and there – Scammers don’t want to give you the time to think something through.
You are asked to give your passwords or personal details – Banks, phone companies, and such like will never ask for your full PIN code or password. Instead, they will ask for two characters from it, for example. If you’re asked to provide a full password, this should set off alarm bells.
You get a letter, email, call, or text out of the blue – This should be flagged as suspicious.
You can’t fool me
It’s vital to take the necessary steps to avoid being scammed. Here are some tips:
Always read the small print – It tends to be small for a reason!
Choose your passwords carefully – If your password is ‘password’, ‘123456’, ‘football’, ‘letmein’, ‘princess’, ‘abc123’, or ‘qwerty’, change it immediately! You’ve got one of the most 20 common passwords! It’s vital to use a different password for every account, and you need to use a mixture of lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers, and special characters.
Keep your devices secure – Set passwords on your smartphone, tablet, and such like, and avoid sharing them with others.
Be overly cautious – If you are contacted by a business and you are not sure about them, hang up or do a quick search online while speaking to them to see if they are legitimate. Companies House is a great way to check the legitimacy of a company.
Ask for ID – If someone turns up at your house and you are worried they are not from the company they say they are, ask for their ID. In the online world, Netverify offers a complete solution for identity verification, which can be very helpful.
Be wary of suspicious emails – If you receive an email from someone you don’t know, don’t download any attachments, click any links, or reply to it.
Don’t reply – If you receive any suspicious letters in the post don’t reply to them.