Online scams come in many shapes and sizes, from an amazing vacation deal to a request that you pay taxes you don’t owe. The key to avoiding these types of scams is to always think before you click or respond, and to know useful tools to get your money back such as refundee.com/revolut.
1. Don’t give out your personal information
Cybercriminals can steal our data more easily if we share more information online. It’s important to be skeptical whenever someone asks for your personal information via phone, email or text message.
A common scam involves someone calling you and telling you that you have won something, such as an investment opportunity, inheritance or prize, but they will need your bank information to pay for it. They may also try and trick you into clicking a link which downloads malware. This will give them access your device and passwords.
Another common scam involves pretending that you are your bank, credit-card company or HMRC. They will ask you to login to a website which looks exactly like the original. The website, however, is fake and designed for the purpose of stealing your personal information and cash.
Scammers often copy fonts, logos and other details of official websites to make emails look authentic. They also use spoofing so that the caller ID appears to be an official number from your bank, government agency, or other organisation you can trust.
You should never reveal any personal information unless you made the first contact with a friend or you know it is legitimate. If you believe an email or a message is suspicious, contact the sender to confirm. If you are not sure who sent the message, delete it and block them. Keeping a close eye on your bank account and changing passwords regularly will reduce the risk of losing money to an online scam.
2. Do not click on links in email
Hackers are very good at sending malicious links to emails that appear as if they were sent by a person or company you know. You may download a virus, malware or other malicious software if you click on any of these links. This is known as phishing. Some viruses will only damage your computer. Others may steal your credit cards information or even your identity.
It’s important to not click on links in emails that you don’t expect. You should be skeptical when an email comes from someone you know, unless it is clear that their account wasn’t hacked. If you are suspicious about an email, enter the website directly into your browser or search Google for it to see if it is legitimate.
Scammers use emails that appear as if they were from government agencies to trick you into spending money on services that you could do yourself. They may ask you to send the money via wire transfers or prepaid card which cannot be tracked. If you do, you may never see your cash again.
Scammers are also adept at creating websites that look similar to those of major retailers to trick you into purchasing products that are never delivered or claiming that you won a lottery or other scams. They might also ask you to login with your social media or email accounts, which exposes your personal information for the scammer to take. It is important to only use the official app store on your device to login to your apps. You can ensure that your personal data is not exposed to fraudsters.
3. Open attachments only when necessary
Email attachments can be used to spread malware and steal information. Even if the file looks familiar, like a Word document or PDF, it could be fake. You should never open attachments or click on links in unsolicited emails. Antivirus software can protect your devices and data from malware.
For example, a popular scam involves fake messages from real banks and other organisations you might trust – like HMRC or PayPal – asking you to visit their website and log in with your account details. Criminals use these fake websites, which look very similar to the real thing, to capture your personal information and money.
Scammers often ask you to pay in a specific way: via cryptocurrency, wire transfers, prepaid cards or gift cards, which cannot be traced and are as good as cash. They may also threaten to sue or take away your driver’s or business licence, arrest you, confiscate your property or deport you.
The attachments with macros, which are small programs that can wreck havoc on a computer, are the most dangerous. These are most common in Word documents and spreadsheets.
Video, audio and photo files are the most secure types of attachments. If you receive an unwelcome email with such files, you can contact the sender or visit them to verify that they sent the file and confirm its authenticity. You can also block the sender to avoid more emails or messages from them.
4. Don’t open links in text messages
In many online scams, a fake email or message that appears to come from your wireless provider, bank or another trusted company will ask you to click on a link which looks real. Cybercriminals can download malware onto your computer, mobile phone or other electronic device to steal login identification, credit card information and passwords.
Scammers can also use text messages as a way to trick people into giving out personal information. A scammer might pretend to be someone you love and claim they are in another nation and need money urgently. The scammer can then steal your personal information, including your banking information and Social Security or Social Insurance numbers.
The elderly are especially vulnerable to online scams. Scammers often target grandparents with “grandchild scams.” They send an urgent message or email to the senior saying that their grandchild is in danger and needs cash for a train ticket, medical bills or other reasons. The scammer then uses the victim’s card to make fraudulent purchases.
It’s also a good idea to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for banking, shopping or other activities where your personal information is exposed. These networks are known as havens for hacker, who can spy your activity and set up rogue Hotspots to connect to. It’s best to use your home Wi-Fi or a VPN when possible.
5. Don’t open links in apps
Online scams can steal your money and identity, but if you are aware of how these scams work, you can avoid them. These ten tips will help you protect yourself and your family from fraudsters.
Be suspicious of emails that purport to be coupons or rebates. These may contain malware that can infect your computer or mobile device. Avoid granting any apps permission to access your contacts, text messages, stored passwords or credit card information. And beware of apps that display alerts with lots of exclamation points and a sense of urgency — this is a common tactic used by cyber criminals to trick victims into clicking links.
Fake government payments and updates: Cybercriminals can impersonate trusted organizations or banks to steal your financial or personal data. They may ask you to make a donation to a COVID-19 disaster relief fund or a cause that is not helping those who have been affected. Always check your bank statements and report any unusual activity to your bank or BBB Scam Tracker. You should never send money to someone via wire transfer or prepaid card. These transfers are difficult to trace and almost impossible for you to reverse.