Learning to avoid online scams is sadly a main part of personal and business life these days.
So what do you need to know to protect yourself, your business and your family from scammers?
Protecting your bank account
Never give your credit card details over the phone, the bank will never ring you and ask for them as verification, they already have your details and if they are ringing you they know who they are calling!
Hang up and ring your bank back to verify the call.
Check your bank accounts and statements regularly!
You can protect yourself by doing this regularly to ensure that any suspicious transactions will be noticed. If you keep your receipts you can double check your transactions are correct. If you notice anything strange report it to your bank straight away.
If it looks too good to be true it probably is!
You know the ones I’m talking about, that awesome deal or super cheap holiday that looks amazing.
The scammers are getting more and more sophisticated and know how to look professional so protect yourself and don’t be fooled by these scams.
Protect yourself and your personal information
Never give your credit card details to an online website that doesn’t have a secure site for example.
Or even better yet, use a third party provider such as Paypal to buy your online items.
Paypal acts as a middleman who holds your credit card details, confirms your order and payment to the seller and processes the transaction without your credit card details being given to anyone else.
Do not click on links in emails if you don’t recognise the sender. They are usually phishing scams and clicking on these links allows them access to your computer or opens a virus etc.
Ensure you keep all your settings to private on social media only accept friend requests from people you know as many scammers try to gain access to your information by pretending to be your friend.
Try not to share too much information online, this can be easily collected and used to get a picture of how you could be scammed. Catch up with your friends and family in person more often than social media.
You can protect yourself by changing your passwords often and use difficult passwords that are hard to figure out for example, a mixture of letters and numbers is ideal E@$^*eggplant956
Try not to use the same password for all your log in’s because once they break one code they will have all of your information if you passwords are the same!
You can also protect yourself by not replying or answer calls from private or unknown numbers.
A new scam at the moment is to record your voice and use it to verify details to gain access to your accounts. The caller will ask you a series of questions in which you will respond “Yes” to for example
“Are you having a good day?”
Once they have recorded it they hang up, Yikes!
What should you do if you think you are on the line with a scammer?
- Ask for their name and what company they represent?
- What is their address?
- Who owns the company?
If they refuse or can’t answer these questions then it may very well be a scam. Hang up the phone or delete the email from your inbox.
You can protect yourself by installing anti-virus programs!
Anti-virus programs are a good way to protect yourself from online scammers as they can automatically update each day with new software to keep you computer safe from virus’s and hackers!
Do not call list!
You can have your number put on the Do Not Call Register this will reduce the amount of telemarketing calls you will receive however it will not completely stop the scammers from calling as they don’t care much for the rules.
You can pay your phone provider for a silent number, this way it will not be published in the phone book for all to see.
In conclusion the best defence is to be prepared if looks like a scam or it’s too good to be true then your probably online with a scam artist and you should hang up immediately or delete the email or text from your device. Even if it’s not a scam it’s better to be safe than sorry!