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Increase in Online Scams: What to Look Out for and How to Avoid Them

29th May 2020

Cybercrime is an ever-present threat to anybody using online services. Criminals use a variety of tricks to convince customers to hand over their cash. A number of new and unexpected scams have appeared, and Brits have lost millions to acts of fraud that could have been avoided if the victims knew what to look out for. Below are the top three rules to remember.

1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

With the number of online transactions taking place on a consistent upward trend, it’s more important than ever to stay safe and secure when gambling online in the UK, when banking and shopping online, or even simply when checking your emails. By using trusted guides such as casino review sites, which do their research into the security measures in place at these platforms and tell you which bonuses are legitimate, allowing you to proceed with confidence.

If someone contacts you with an offer, however, it pays to be wary. An email claiming to be from a bank or HMRC, for example, might say that you’ve won a prize for a competition or lottery that you didn’t enter, that you’re owed refunds, or that you’re able to reclaim bank charges or free money. Clicking the link in these emails could lead you to a site where you’ll be prompted to enter your bank details in order to claim your supposed cash. In reality, you could be giving scam artists access to your bank account. The key lesson is, if it looks too good to be true, it could be - so be careful and seek reviews.

2. Fraudsters sometimes tell you that you’ve been hacked

Fraudsters may tell you that you’ve been hacked in order to offer to fix the nonexistent problem. This scam comes in a variety of forms, ranging from your ‘bank’ contacting you to say that your account has been compromised, social media websites claiming that you need to change your password, or ‘support teams’ offering to remove the virus that they’ve just infected your computer with for a fee.

Whether it's via the phone or email, banks in particular will NEVER contact you asking for your details, and you shouldn’t have to pay to have a virus removed. Don’t click the links, don’t call the phone numbers and definitely don’t give away your passwords or account details.

3. Use different passwords

You may not think it’s much of a problem if a fraudster gets hold of your Facebook password, but if you’re the kind of person who uses the same password for everything, you could be in big trouble. With one password, fraudsters could access your social media, your emails and your online banking. They’ll then know all of the businesses you’ve dealt with, everything you’ve bought and even who your friends and family are. This could lead to follow up scams where they could pretend to be any one of a number of sources that you’re more likely to trust.

Use different passwords for everything that you sign up to. If that's that’s too many to remember, download a password manager which can do it for you safely and securely. 

The majority of online fraud can be prevented by remembering these three tips. As clever as scammers are, they are completely powerless if you remain vigilant and don’t make it easy for them. Be smart and stay safe online.

Posted by Mark at 4:43pm

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