Becoming a victim to an online scam is nothing to be ashamed of, fraudsters can be very clever and spotting the signs can be tricky.
Familiarising yourself with just some of the following hints and tips can ensure you are protected and become scam savvy!
How to use auction sites with confidence
Auction sites like eBay are a prime location for scamming activities, watch out for the following:
- people not sending you items once you have paid for them
- someone buying something from you but cancelling the payment after you’ve dispatched it.
To avoid this type of activity make sure anyone you deal with has a great selection of reviews.
Consider before you click any advertising
It's hard to get away from advertising these days, whether you're on a website or on some form of social media. It is very clever, targeting you based on your browsing:
- be aware - if you announce you’re getting married on Facebook you will suddenly see more adverts for honeymoon destinations and florists
- be wary - flashy adverts promising free items or claiming you have won a prize are misleading and it's highly unlikely you'll win anything
- sign ups - think twice before signing up to anything - you might become inundated with spam mail connecting you to a scam set-up
- get rich quick schemes - you may come across these while browsing the web too - if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Don't follow it up - it will likely lead you down a path of financial ruin.
How to spot a fraudulent website
Almost anyone can create a website these days and sometimes they can be very convincing. Just be aware of the following before parting with any cash online:
Every year a small number of people become victims to fake websites making money out of people desperate for tickets. To make sure tickets you buy are legitimate follow these tips:
- if you're buying tickets online, go to the official website related to the event and see the list of registered ticket sellers
- do not use any site that has not been listed on the official website related to the event
- be cautious of websites with a dubious address – maybe misspelt or with a character out of place.
There are plenty of travel websites created for the sole purpose of promising you a holiday but instead stealing your money. Stick to reputable and well known sites. Remember, if an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is!
How to spot a fraudulent email
Just because something has fallen into your inbox it doesn't mean it can be trusted. Read on to find out how you can spot a dodgy email:
- 419 – letter based frauds which try to convince the reader that for a small fee they could be in line for a much larger windfall. Never reply – even in jest - as your email address will be added to a list and you are likely to receive more
- your contacts may get their email accounts hacked - which means someone has managed to get into their account without them knowing. You might receive an emergency email from your ‘friend’ asking to send money to a bank account as they are in some sort of trouble - ignore and delete these emails
- don't respond to emails that tell you to provide personal information or something bad will happen to your account. Legitimate companies will never request this information by email. If you're in doubt contact the company by phone or by typing in the companies web address into your browser. Never click on the link in these emails.