Have you ever received a text regarding a chance of winning a cruise? Although we all wish that it would be a dream come true, it could be the beginning of a nightmare. According to the verified mobile phone community, Truecaller, approximately US$8.6 billion were solicited from Americans via phone scams in 2013. Although you may say to yourself “How could people fall for text fraud?”, the truth is that some individuals are not aware of how current fraud artists operate using a variety of methods and communication tools.
Below lists the different types of scams and what you should look out for when you are approached by fraudsters.
Identity scams begin by fraudsters obtaining personal information via the internet or telephone, or via fax or regular mail. As a result, be particularly wary of unsolicited e-mails, texts, telephone calls or mail attempting to extract personal or financial information from you. When using a debit or credit card, it is safer to swipe your cards yourself than it is to allow a cashier to do it for you. In circumstances that you are asked to hand over the card, be sure that you never lose sight of it.
Debit Card Fraud
If you select to use a debit card for the majority of your purchases, then you are a target of debit card fraud. Signs of how fraudsters may execute their scam on you are: asking you if they can swipe the card on your behalf, having independent bank machines in usual and dark places, watching you punching in your personal identification number (PIN) into the payment terminal. If you have a lost or someone has stolen you card, be sure to report it to your bank.
Credit Card Fraud
Whether it is buying a shirt at a small clothing boutique or a CD from a music group’s website with a credit card, you may be susceptible a scam by having your information stolen. To prevent this unfortunate circumstance from happening, be sure to: look for small charges to your card, avoid buying items on websites that are not secured. (Please Note: Secure websites have their addresses start with ‘https//:’ once you have selected to log onto the site). If you choose to use the credit card only in stores, be aware of i) individuals that will ask you to reconfirm the number and ii) the return of your card. Some fraudsters will attempt to swap your card with a dummy card once they have the information to use the card elsewhere.
E-mail Fraud / Phishing
If you have an email account and subscribe to electronic newsletters, chances are that your address will be obtained by e-mail fraudsters or “phisers”. Phisers attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an e-mail. The e-mail will have an urgent request for personal or financial information. It is important to remember that financial institutions and credit card companies normally will not use e-mail to ask for or confirm existing client’s information.
Mass marketing scams can be seen in various forms, however; individuals are more prone to be victims of charity, prize pitch and telemarketing fraud.
Although there are various worthy charities to donate to, be aware of individuals that claim to represent a charity and is not able to provide verifiable identification and will pressure you into donating money. Legitimate fund-raisers will not push you to give on the spot.
Prize pitch scams are highly effective since everyone enjoys winning a prize, however, it comes with a catch. If you need to provide personal information to claim the prize, think twice. It may be too good to be true.
Telemarketing scams are the most efficient frauds to execute. To identify whether the offer that is being made is legitimate, ask the individual on the other end of phone to provide all the information that is available on the company, especially contact information for two managers. If the individual is unable to reply to request, end the conversation and clearly indicate that you do not wish to be contacted again.
Being a victim of a scam is very unpleasant. Not only do scams leave you with less money in your bank account, they will strip you of your dignity.
The best way to prevent the two from happening is to inform yourself of all the proven and successful scams that are executed on and off the internet.