How to protect against scams
Hello and welcome back to our newsletter. Today we are going to look into scams, how to identify a potential scam and what you can do to protect yourself and avoid them in the future.
According to UK Finance, in 2020 were reported almost 15,000 impersonation scams, and this represents an increase of 84% compared to 2019. From these scams, we include (source ageuk.org.uk):
– Coronavirus scams
– Vaccine scam
– Track and trace scam
– Covid-19 doorstep scam
– Fake police calls
– Fake Aviva letters
– Fake Halifax texts
These are just of few of the scams that appeared around UK, and many of them are still happening. Scammers target all the people, regardless of education level, income or background, and they succeed because they can make a scam look legitimate. This can be done by taking advantage of new technology, new products or services or even major events.
Now that we have discussed a bit about scams, let’s look into how you can protect yourself against them.
1) Know that scams exist. We know, it sounds weird, but knowing more about scams, increases your scepticism, and prevents you from falling for traps (if something looks too good to be true, chances are it actually is).
2) Know who your dealing with. If you received a suspicious letter, call, text or email, take 5 minutes and do a little research about the sender, and find out if it is legitimate.
3) Don’t respond to calls asking you for access to your personal computer
4) Keep your mobile devices and computers secure (mostly used – VPN: Virtual Private Network)
5) Choose some strong passwords and we also recommend changing your password every 3-4 months
6) Be aware of unusual payment requests
7) Find and see who has your personal data
8) Delete your data from companies you don’t use anymore
9) Ask companies to stop sharing or selling your personal information
Everyone says that is easy to spot a scam, but if you have been a victim or have been subject to a scam, you know that is not that simple. Scammers almost always use and create a sense of urgency for you, which automatically triggers all kinds of emotions.
For example, one of our team members was subject to one of these scams, and received a call which said that our member was being fined due to a delay in submitting his taxes. During the call, he was told that he would need to pay a fine of £1000 to HMRC, and was asked to access a link which was sent via text. As you can imagine, our team member was quite distressed about the situation, but fortunately we were next to him helping dealing with this. After a short analysis of the call and the text received, we concluded quite quickly that this may be a potential scam. This also lead to a further research on his account, checked everything and even contacted HMRC directly. Surprise surprise, HMRC had no knowledge about any of this.
We haven’t disclosed this story just for the story’s sake. We wanted to share with you that anyone can be subject or even fall victim to a scam.
The most important thing to remember from this article, is to take a step back, breath, and try to analyse the situation objectively. If you feel that something may be off, most likely it actually is.