Have you ever been Scammed? All you need to know about Scamming.
What is a Scam?
Scams can come to you in many ways, but all are designed to swindle your money. All of us can be easy victims to those vicious cyber criminals by getting us to reveal our personal details and other valuable information or even by persuading us to willingly handover the cash. The important thing is to know how to recognise a scam, protect yourself and the actions to take if you think you have been targeted or been a victim of it.
Types of Scams and how to recognize them?
It is extremely important to know the most common techniques used by scammers which they use to get unauthorized access to our personal details and accounts. Here are some popular types of scams, how you can spot them and things you can do to protect yourself from being a victim.
Phishing is an email scam which appears to be sent from an authorized legitimate source like your bank, finance company or any other official institution.
The message will encourage you to open an attachment which possibly a virus or to click a link and log into your account by adding your personal details. Truth is, the link in the email will lead to a fake website which collects all your information.
There are few methods to spot a phishing scam.
- No legitimate organization will send emails with a public email domain. Most legal organizations except small operations have their own domain name for their emails. (Eg: legitimate emails from your bank will read firstname.lastname@example.org, legitimate emails from Google will read email@example.com)
Usually legitimate emails will use your name to address you in the email, but scammers will use common greetings such as Dear Sir, Dear Madam or Dear Customer.
Vishing is a fraudulent practice of making fake phone calls pretending to be from reputable companies to induce people to reveal their personal information, financial data and credit card numbers.
This is very difficult to spot. The only suspicion is the caller will desperately try to convince you to reveal your personal details. If you are not sure the call is genuine and feel like it’s fraudulent, hang up the phone and call your bank, finance company or the particular reputed company and check whether you are getting to the right people.
Greeting Card Scams
We all get greeting cards in our emails whether it’s Christmas, Easter or New Year, which appears to be from our loved ones or a friend. These fake ecards are another form of internet scams used by those malicious actors to infuse malware to your computer and to accumulate valuable personal and financial data.
If you open such an email your computer will end up defective with malicious software which then sends all your private details to a fraudulent server which is controlled by those cyber criminals.
To keep yourself safe from these data breaches, it is recommended to use a specialized security programme to fight against these internet threats.
Another common type of internet scam is Lottery Scam which comes to you as an email informing you that you have won a large sum of money and asks you to pay a small amount of money to claim the prize. Obviously, the matter is if you haven’t purchased any lottery tickets, how can you win? Plus, the legitimate lotteries do not require you to pay money to claim the winning prize.
Online Dating Scams
Dating scammers or romance scammers create fake profiles on dating apps or contact their targets through social media networks like Facebook or Instagram and start up a relationship with them to build their trust and later asking for money by making up a story. Nowadays, many people get deceived and end up being a victim of such fake lovers and have lost millions of money from their life savings.
Door to Door Scams
This can come to you in many forms. Instead of remaining anonymous like other online scammers, they simply come and knock on your door. These scammers can be investment officers, finance or pension companies or even offering you to sell a product or services.
Sometimes scammers pretend to be local or foreign police, government officials, investment, courier, telecommunication, internet or other companies. They may impersonate you or even your friends on social media and ask for your personal details such as mobile phone numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, verification codes etc. It is you who need to safeguard yourself in such situations.
Singapore Police released a report regrading top Scams
- Online Purchase Scams – People Lost S$ 4.4 Million Jan-June 2020
- Impersonation Scams – People Lost S$ 2 Million Jan-June 2020
- Loan Scams – People Lost S$ 5 Million Jan-June 2020
Here are some common steps to follow in your day to day life to stay away from these malicious actors.
- Never share your personal and banking details with anyone, not even with your family members or close friends.
- Beware of unusual requests or offers from anyone, even if it appears to be from your friend or a family member.
- Government and other genuine officials will never demand an immediate online payment or a money transfer to a local or foreign bank or disallow you from hanging up the phone.
- Do not believe in promises of easy money.
- If you are getting suspicious emails, log into those websites directly instead of using links they mention.
- Never pay upfront. Only make payments when the goods are received.
- Beware of deals and online offers that are too good to be true.
- Only purchase from reputable sites.
- Ignore loan advertisements and messages.
- Block and report unknown numbers through the apps or via third party platforms.
If you think you’ve been scammed or given your personal and financial details,
- Immediately reset your passwords.
- Contact your bank or finance company and inform them your bank details are stolen.
- Call the Police immediately and give all the information.
- Make sure to update your antivirus.
- Check if you can get your money back.