What Is A Scam And How To Be Safe from Them
It is crucially important to know what is a scam and how to be safe both online and offline.
In these days of instant communication Scammers appear to be everywhere! So it is vital that we are all aware of scams, and that we know how to recognise them. And it is equally important that we teach our children to be able to recognise them too.
So What Is A Scam And How Can We Avoid Them?
In the simplest terms, scams are a way of persuading people to buy something which they neither want nor need, a way to part people from their money!
So you might think that they are easily recognisable. After all, you know what you want and don’t want, and surely no one can persuade you otherwise.
Sadly this is not so. Scammers are getting more and more sophisticated – sometimes whole businesses are built on scamming people, and they have so many ways in which they do this.
And scammers manage to reach you in so many ways, both online and offline, and in such a way that you may well not realise that they are trying to scam you.
An example Of A Text Message Scam
Here is a text which I received recently supposedly from Santander Bank:
We have identified some unusual activity on your Online Banking. Log in via the secure link http://188.8.131.52/LOGSUK-NS-ENS to avoid account suspension.
Obviously a scam!!
How could I tell.
Well, for a start, I do not have an account with Santander!
But even if I had, I would still have identified it as a scam!
- The link which they gave starts with http:// – NO bank would ever use a non-secure site, they would always use the https:// prefix, which is a secure site.
- NO BANK will ever contact you by either text or email sending you a login link. Nor will they ever ask you for your Login details.
How To Recognise A Scam Email.
This kind of scam is also frequently tried by Email.
Scammers will send emails pretending to be from all banks, in the certainty that they will reach some people who have an account at that bank.
They can be very clever, frequently re-producing the bank’s website almost accurately, as you will find if you do click on that link.
But do not click on it!!
Check out the email address that the message comes from.
You will find that the email address does indeed contain the name of the bank, but it will not be from Yourbank.com, but from somewhere that looks similar, but is in fact very different!
And as I have said before, NO BANK will ever contact you by either text or email sending you a login link. Nor will they ever ask you for your Login details.
So my best advice is NOT to open that email, but DO forward it to your bank for them to deal with before deleting it.
Other Email Scams
Unfortunately, there are far too many Email scams to list here, but it is so important to recognise what is a scam and how not to be caught by them!
Most of them are “phishing” scams where they contact as many people as they possibly can in the expectation that someone will think that the information applies to them and will click on their link. For example, maybe you do deal with the bank they are pretending to be, or maybe you use E-bay or Paypal or whoever they are pretending to be!
One thing they have in common is that they are all trying to make you click on a link or attachment where they intend you to enter a password which they will use to take money from you in some way. Or they are offering you some very enticing but completely useless information or an “amazing” way to “get rich quick”. Just bear in mind that if it looks too good to be true, then 99% of the time it just is not true!
True examples of “Phishing” emails
I have myself received three of these phishing emails in the last few days.
One claimed to be from Apple Support, saying that my Apple ID had been compromised and that I needed to click on their link and change my password. It was very obvious to me that that was a scam, as the address it came from looked most odd, and I know for a fact that Apple will always put your address on any correspondence from them, and that was not there!
I happened to be on the phone to Apple shortly afterwards about another matter. When I mentioned that email to them they confirmed that it was definitely not from them, and asked me to forward it to them so that they could deal with it. If you ever get a similar email from Apple, the address to forward it to is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Another email I received claimed to be from Paypal, again with a very suspect email address, telling me that a Paypal payment had been made from my account, and if it was not me who made it then I should click on their link. Of course I did not, and I sent a copy of the email to Paypal.
I also received a similar one from Amazon telling me that if I had not made a payment of $49 to them then I should click on their link – again of course I did not click on it.
You just can’t be too careful!! These scammers will try anything!!
How To Recognise A Phone Scam
Of course, scams are not limited to email, and once again it is vitally important to know what is a scam and how to recognise a Phone scam.
Be VERY suspicious of anyone whose number you do not recognise!
One phone scam which has defrauded a large number of people of their life savings has recently been quite widely publicised, but I will outline it just in case you have not heard about it.
Someone claiming to be from your bank will call and tell you that someone else is fraudulently trying to access your bank account – what blatant cheek!!! They tell you to call your bank to confirm that what they are saying is true, and say they will hang up whilst you do so!
In fact they do not hang up so that you are still connected with them when you think you are calling your bank. They of course assure you that the information is correct, and that you should move your money to a “safe” account. They give you the number of that account and ask you to go into your bank and do just that! And very sadly so many people have moved their life savings into the fraudster’s account.
So if anyone calls you in this manner and you are worried about it, simply thank them for the warning and tell them you will go into your bank and sort it out. And if you can’t get to your bank, then by all means give them a call, but not on the same phone as the one on which you received the call!
And please remember that Banks will never call you about such a matter!
“Get Rich Quick” Scams
Many people online are looking for a way to make money. I have concentrated on what is a scam and how to recognise a “get rich quick” scam in another post on this site, which you can check out here if you wish, so I will not go into any more details now. You can also find posts about some specific scams elsewhere on this site.
Please Report any Scams you come across!
There are a number of websites where you can report scams, depending on which country you live in. If you simply type “Report scams” into Google you will find them, and it is really important that you do report them. We all need to work together to try to stop these scammers in their tracks!!
One Thing that you can do now…..
Is to ensure that your anti-virus software is up to date and in good working order.
If you have an Apple computer, then there is no need for any extra anti-virus software as it is built in to your device. I have been in touch with Apple and they have confirmed that that is true. If you do have any malware trouble with your Apple device, then you are able to contact Apple and they will sort it our for you, usually quite free of charge.
I hope that you now have a good idea of what is a scam and how you can recognise and avoid them
And I really hope that you have found this post helpful.
If you have any questions, comments or opinions about it, please do leave them in the Comments box below, and I will reply to you as soon as possible. And please feel free to share this post with anyone who you think may find it helpful too.
If you would like to learn all about how to create your own website in the best ever safe scam-free zone, I would love to share it with you. You can check it out here. It is also where I learnt what is a scam and how to recognise and deal with them!
Many thanks for popping by 🙂