Part of saving money is to know when not to spend it unnecessarily. A scam is something which fits the bill because you part with cash and get nothing in return. Easy, peasy, you may think, yet thousands of people have the wool pulled over their eyes year after year. In fact, a shocking statistic is that only 9% of Britons can spot a hoax on the World Wide Web according to a Guardian survey. Scammers have honed their craft over the years, so embarrassment shouldn’t be a factor. Still, the idea of cybercrime is infuriating nonetheless.
Here are tips to spot a potential scam.
Hacking a server takes time and effort, and cybercriminals don’t have the energy. Instead, they would rather you do the hard work and then pick up the pieces. As a result, phishing has increased in popularity and reporting in the past five years. Quite simply, they will send an email which claims to be your bank and ask you to log in. Once you do, via the email, they have access to a host of sensitive data. If in doubt, use a trusted search engine to access your account. That way, they can’t reel you in because you’re not on the hook.
Money, Money, Money
Whether it’s an email scam or ransomware, money will undoubtedly be involved. Usually, thieves say you have won a pile of cash or have to pay a debt, and that is where you should get suspicious. You may not have an online masters in finance, but you can get one if you want to sharpen your money skills. Otherwise, look out for warning signs which include asking for credit card info and personal details. When in doubt, contact the bank and ask for advice and for them to put a flag on the account.
The Blackmail Element
Another industry trick is to strike fear into a person’s heart and get them to act with emotion. For example, a pop up may appear and say that the authorities are investigating downloads. As soon the term “police” is mentioned, people listen. However, cops aren’t bent crooks that take backhanders; well, not officially! All jokes aside, you can’t pay them off and get the incident to go away, which is what the ransomware will essentially ask. Whenever you feel backed into a corner, ask with caution.
“Make Millions From Home”
Yes, some people have built an empire from their kitchen; it isn’t a myth. Still, they are few and far between because getting rich fast only happens once in a lifetime. However, hackers understand the way the mind works and they play to the weakness. Therefore, anyone or anything offering to make you a millionaire is almost definitely too good to be true. The same goes for the top secrets that nobody else knows of yet. Be realistic and think “even if it turns out to be true, what are the risks?”
Do you think you are now one of the 9% that can spot an online hoax?