- Internet & the Web
Protect Yourself or Pay the Price
SCAMS DO NOT DISCRIMINATE:
I was recently taken for one of the longest rides, and I don't mean the fun kind, no I mean I was yet another victim of what turned our to be a very nasty and heartbreaking case of Online Internet Fraud.Yes, I was targeted by and I am very sorry to say, hooked by a scam so well planned and thought out, that I was not even aware that it was indeed a scam, until I smelled a rat, by which time, it was too late. Not only was I targeted and caught, but also lost money as a result of some very tricky and cunning scamming. I want to warn you now SCAMMERS DO NOT DISCRIMINATE. It doesn't matter what background you are from, what age you are or even the amount of money your have in your back account or earn each year, you can and you will be targeted and if like me, they are very good at what they are doing, you will be caught and end up paying big time, and sometimes this can be the difference between hundreds or even thousands of dollars. OUCH, YES IT HURTS, IT REALLY DOES!!
There are new varieties of scams appearing on the internet all the time. These range from fake lotteries, advance-fee-frauds, get-rich-schemes and even miracle health cures, for those who are really desperate to cure themselves of whatever is making them ill. These scams can have and often do and in my case did, very devastating effects. You are left with a feeling of emptiness and dread, wondering to yourself "where should I have noticed that this was not a real win but an attempt to convince me that I had won this prize.? I have gone over and over all the emails, which I kept, to see if I could find on one of them somewhere that should have convinced me that this was not a legitimate win in a Freelotto , but an Online Internet Scam.
Unfortunately, for me, my scammers were very good at what they were doing. Maybe someone who was more sceptical than I am would have picked it out straight away. I suppose when you have a lot of debts, especially a mortgage to pay and countless other debts, you want to so badly to believe that this is really true and that you did win this large amount of money. You can't as the saying goes "see the wood for the trees". I have decided therefore, in order to stop this from happening to any other poor lost gullible soul. to put down a few guidelines. One of the best ways to combat this kind of fraud, is to help you to take measures to prevent yourself from getting caught out in the first place in this web of Online Internet Scam.
EVERY YEAR, LOTS OF PEOPLE LOSE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO THE ACTIVITIES OF SCAMMERS WHO BOMBARD THEM WITH LOTS OF ONLINE, MAIL, DOOR-TO-DOOR AND TELEPHONE AND LOTTERY SCAMS. IT IS UP TO US TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND PROTECT OURSELVES THE BEST WAY THAT WE KNOW HOW TO.
PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
You should never give out your personal details and information to anyone unless the person that you are speaking to or dealing with, is someone that you absolutely trust.
Destroy any personal information. For example, don't just throw out your old bills, banks statements or cards, or anything that has personal information on it. Make sure that you shred up everything very well ,so it can't be read or understood by anyone, i.e. credit card statements, bank statements, phone bills and ATM CARDS.
Always keep you personal details in a safe place, just like you would treat your money. Don't leave anything lying around for others to take.
NEVER send money to anyone that you do not know and trust.
NEVER send money or pay any money or fee to claim a prize or any form of Lottery Winnings.
Be wary of anyone asking you to "simply use your own bank account" to transfer money for someone, this could be a front for money-laundering activity. Money-laundering is considered to be a serious criminal offence, no matter what country you are in.
You should avoid transferring or wiring any refunds or overpayments back to someone that you do not know anything about.
THE FACE-TO-FACE APPROACH
When someone comes calling at your door, never just invite them in. Always ask to see some form of identification. You don't have to let them in , and they must leave when asked by you. Too many people fall into the trap of letting people inside their homes before asking to look at their ID, and then they are attacked because of this. Once someone is inside, it is too late then to ask, it should be done prior to them entering your premises, then if there is any doubt or suspicion in your mind, you can make up some excuse to keep them outside.
If you are still unsure about your caller or callers, you should contact the office of Fair Trading or whatever it is called in your country, to find out whether this person is who they say they are.
Don't allow the caller to rush you about deciding to pay any money, especially at your door. If you are interested in having a look at what a door-to-door salesperson has to offer, make the time to inquire about their Business and most importantly what they are selling or trying to sell you.
When you receive a phone call from someone that you do now know, always ask for the name of the person who is making the call to you and who or what they represent. You should always verify the information that you are given by the caller, and call the Company yourself to confirm what the caller has told you.
NEVER give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone, unless the call was made by you and the phone number came from a trusted source.
It is not considered a a good idea to respond to text messages or any missed calls that come from phone numbers that are unfamiliar to you. You should be especially wary of phone numbers beginning with 19. These are often charged at a higher rate than other general numbers and they can as well, end up being very expensive.
NEVER reply to Spam Email, even to unsubscribe can often serve to "verify" your address to the scammers. Take my advice, which I wish now I had done, haha, and delete any emails that you are suspicious about without even opening them.
You should always turn of the "viewing pane", because by viewing the email you could also be sending a verification to the sender that it is a valid e mail address.
A legitimate Bank or Financial Institution, would never send you an e mail, requesting your personal bank account details, or, as well they wouldn't ask you to click on a link in order to access your account.
PROTECT YOURSELF ON THE INTERNET
Install software that will protect your computer from any viruses and unwanted programs. You should always keep it updated as much as possible. I wasn't sure what to do here, so I asked a friend who specialises in Internet Technology, a real whiz at what he does.
If you want to access a website, you should use a bookmarked link to that website, or type the address of the website into a browser yourself. You should never follow a link in an e mail (how many of us have done this)? You should also check any website addresses very carefully. As I found out from personal experiences, scammers are very clever when it comes to setting up fake websites that have very similar addresses to the legitimate websites that they have been copied from.
NEVER enter your personal, credit card of any information about any online account on any other website that you have any doubts as to whether it is genuine or not.
NEVERsend any of your personal, credit card or any online banking account details by e mail .You should also avoid using public computer such as those you find in the Libraries or at the Internet Cafes, to do any of your personal internet banking or any online shopping. When you have finished using a computer in a public place, such as these, always make sure that you clear the history and cache of the computer.
You should also be very careful when you are using software on your computer that fills in your name and address and personal details in online forms, as this to is another avenue that scammers can use to gain access to your personal details
When you choose your passwords, make them so that they are too difficult for anyone to guess. A good idea would be to choose a password that letters and numbers, mix them around a bit, and maybe add some punctuation marks as well. Its a good idea to change your passwords regularly as well.
When you buy anything online, you should print out copies of all your transactions, and only pay for it with a site that is secure. If you are using an Interenet Auction Site, such as E-bay, make a note of the ID numbers that are involved. Be sure to peruse all the security advice that is given on the site first
GETTING HELP AND REPORTING A SCAM
The best Agency to contact depends on where you live and what type of scam that is being represented.
If you think that you have spotted a scam, or have been targeted by a scam, there are many government agencies all over the world that you can contact for some advice or to made an official report. They are always available to talk to and get advice from.
SCAMS FROM INTERSTATE OR OVERSEAS; CONTACT THE ACCC
LOCAL SCAMS : CONTACT YOUR LOCAL CONSUMER AFFAIRS AGENCY
SCAMwatch IS A WEBSITE RUN BY THE ACCC THAT PROVIDES INFORMATION ABOUT HOW TO RECOGNIZE, AVOID AND REPORT SCAMS. SCAMS REPORTED TO SCAMwatch WILL BE ANALYSED BY THE ACCC. www.scamwatch.gov.au.