Scammers have always been around, but now that we have so much technology at our fingertips, fraudsters can target people in so many more ways than before.
It’s completely understandable to be worried, especially if you’ve been reading stories in the news about the countless people who have lost their money to criminals. But don’t worry, there are lots of things you can do to protect yourself and your personal information. After reading this blog, you’ll hopefully feel much better and in control. One of the first steps to tackling scammers is feeling confident enough to challenge them and their tactics.
Be wary of unknown numbers
Not all unknown phone calls will be scams, but any one of them could be. Rather than answering a call from a number you don’t recognise, use a service like unknownphone.com to determine whether other people have had a negative experience. If you don’t check who the caller is beforehand, you might end up paying a premium rate after answering. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll be safe to call back after checking this service, you’ll have a much better idea of who is on the other end. Don’t forget to have your wits about you anyway just in case.
Avoid clicking on suspicious links
Another way that lots of people fall victim to scams is through links in e-mails and text messages. While the sender might have a name you recognise, the link could be taking you to a website full of viruses. It’s important to check the e-mail address of the sender and hover your mouse over links before following them to check the address. Sometimes web addresses will be subtly different from the one you expect, so be sure to look closely. If you do happen to accidentally land on a scam website, don’t input any of your personal details into forms or boxes. Close the window and report the e-mail you received straightaway.
Don’t give anyone access to your computer
Lots of scammers will call you claiming to need access to your computer to fix a problem or save your personal information. By doing this, you’ll give them permission to steal all your files and potentially even install damaging software. These types of scams are often used to target older people who might know less about technology, so make sure any of your elderly relatives are aware of the risks.
Be suspicious of offers that are too good to be true
For years criminals have been targeting people with scams that tell them they’ve won a competition or can receive a high-value item for free. Whether it’s the lottery or the promise of a new car, avoid engaging with these types of e-mails and calls. Unless you’ve recently entered a competition and know to expect communication, it’s likely that a scam artist is trying to get their hands on your money.
Even the most streetwise people have fallen victim to scams, but you’ll be less likely to get stung if you remember not to trust everyone for who they say they are.