Criminals are quick to exploit the ignorance and vulnerability of their victims. The recent proliferation of devices, from smartphones and tablets to web-connected appliances, has opened us all up to even greater risks.
Yet by simply following a few common sense rules, you can drastically reduce your exposure and the risk of being taken in by these fraudsters.
Random victims are contacted by a criminal claiming to be a friend, relative or someone in a position of authority and tricked into parting with money.
- DON’T panic! If you receive a call saying a friend or relative is in trouble, first try to check the identity of the caller but don’t call back the same number.
- DON’T give any personal or confidential information over the phone.
- DON’T trust someone who claims to be a government official or law enforcement officer; they never demand payment or confidential information. DO contact your local police to check.
Email scams/Business Email Compromise Fraud
Criminals hack into email systems to gain information about corporate payment systems, then deceive company employees into transferring money into their bank account.
- DO make sure that your email account is well protected and don’t share the password.
- DO look carefully at the sender’s email address. Criminals often create an account with a very similar email address to your business partners so keep your eyes peeled!
- DO spread the word so any colleagues dealing with bank accounts are aware of the scam.
- DON’T click on attachments you aren’t expecting, even if they have innocuous sounding names (invoice, for example). They often contain malware giving access to monitor your email/computer activities.
- If you receive an email concerning a change of payment method or bank account, DO contact the payment recipient through another channel to verify this claim. DON’T reply directly to the email.
Criminals develop a “relationship” with victims through social media with the ultimate goal of obtaining money.
- DO be vigilant if you are approached by someone you don’t know, especially if it leads to a request for money.
- DO think twice before transferring money, however genuine the request might seem.
- DON’T disclose personal/confidential information on social media.
Investment/Boiler room fraud
Victims are pressured into investing in fraudulent or worthless shares.
- DO be skeptical if you receive a cold call on investment opportunities.
- DO verify the authenticity of investment products and consult an independent financial advisor.
- DON’T transfer money to anyone simply based on a call.
Victims (often men) are tricked by an attractive stranger into participating in naked videos chats which are secretly recorded and subsequently used for blackmail.
- DO remember that nothing is private on the web and data cannot be erased.
- DO ask pertinent questions and try to verify the identity of anyone who approaches you.
- If you do receive a blackmail threat, DON’T pay up, report it to the police.
- DO keep your cards safe. Regularly check your bank/credit card accounts.
- DO look carefully at ATMs and payment terminals to make sure there are no suspicious objects around the card slot.
- DO keep your distance from other people when using payment terminals.
- DON’T disclose your PIN/passwords. Banks will never ask you for this over the phone or by email.
- DON’T provide bank details unless you initiated the payment process.
- If you are contacted by your bank to update details or take advantage of a special offer, DON’T click on the link in the email. Check out the legitimate website or contact the bank.
- DON’T make a payment online or do any online banking if you are connected to public Wi-Fi, as your information can be easily stolen.
- DO be suspicious if you are asked to let someone else use your bank account.
- DO be wary of cash transactions concerning large amounts of money, there are much more secure payment methods available.
- DON’T let yourself be manipulated. Criminal syndicates often operate by developing relationships with their victims before tricking them into handling money