Getting scammed is nothing new. It happened when we traded salt for currency, and it happens now. Particularly on the internet. This has only been accelerated during the pandemic where so much of our daily lives rely on e-commerce transactions. And since all our personal information is encrypted into our debit cards, credit cards, and even gift cards, identity theft or bank hacking is just one misplaced wallet away. But not to fear, the more versed you are in how internet scams work, the easier it is to prevent scams online. In this article you’ll be briefed on how to recognize and how to avoid online scams.
[Did you a trackable wallet can save you hundreds?]
RECOGNIZE AND AVOID PHISHING SCAMS
The most common types of scams nowadays take place through the internet, usually in the form of phishing scams. In almost every case someone pretends to be a representative of a trusted source in order to trick you into sharing personal information. This info is then used to access your bank account and even steal your identity.
Usually, a phone call, email, SMS or internet message is the starting point for these schemes. The worst part is that anyone can fall victim to this and it happens a lot more than you might expect. According to a report by the European Central Bank (ECB), fraudulent transactions actually account for 1.8 Billion annually! Thankfully, the better you can recognize a scam before getting pulled in, the less likely you are to fall victim.
[Pictured above from left to right: Parliament Wallet with Tracker Card and Chipolo iPhone app.]
THE MOST COMMON INTERNET SCAMS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
1. Phishing Scams
What is it?
In this scenario you get contacted via text message or email from what looks like a trusted source, like a bank, brand or other organization you recognize. The message is designed to get you to share personal information, like your birthday or residence address, so that a scammer can then use this information to hack into your bank account, social media account or otherwise.
Additionally, these messages can include click on links that install malware on your computer and hold your personal or financial information at ransom.
How to avoid phishing scams
To check whether or not you're truly being scammed, ask whoever contacted you for their full name, and if possible employee number. Then call the organization’s listed number and ask if this person really works there, chances are they’re not really an employee. Also, invest in security software that can verify for you whether or not something is sketchy.
[Pictured above: The Parliament Wallet and Tracker Card]
2. Dating scams
What is it?
These are some of the more predictable scams, but still happen often. The key to these scams are working the emotions of the victim so that they aren’t in a rational mind to see what’s happening. Often, the scammer will start an online relationship, often with fake pictures and information, to try to get gifts or money through whoever they managed to hook.
How to avoid dating scams
Some ways to tell if you’re interacting with a catfish is to check their social media. Often it won’t be very social at all, with few pictures or posts. They will also be against video calls and will try to get very serious very quickly. Chances are if someone is asking for money but refusing to video call, they aren’t who they say they are.
[Pictured above: The Parliament Wallet in Roma Cognac]
3. Finance scams
What is it?
These scams usually take form as an email from some foreign dignitary whose massive wealth is inaccessible for lofty legal reasons like civil war of foreign government bureaucracy. Usually they ask for some money to release their funds and then promise you wealth in return.
How to avoid finance scams
Thankfully, these have been around for a while and are pretty easy to spot. If you get an email from a African prince offering you thousands, it’s a scam. The rule of thumb is: if a stranger asks you to send them money, don’t.
[Pictured above from left to right: Parliament Wallet in Classic Brown, Tracker Card, iPhone 11 Pro Case in Classic Brown.]
4. Skimming scams
What is it?
This type of scam utilizes wireless technology but happens in a physical setting, not a digital one. Thieves can use card readers, like the ones found at most cashiers, to skim the data off any of your contactless cards that uses RFID - this could be a credit card, debit cards, a gym membership, or even a passport.
How to avoid skimming scams
Since this kind of scam can happen behind your back (literally) without you ever knowing, the only real way to avoid this type of scam is to eliminate the possibility entirely. If you carry your cards in an RFID-blocking wallet, card skimmers are rendered useless and can only access your information if you physically take your card out of the wallet. The likelihood of someone standing next to a cash register with a fraudulent card reader is pretty low, so you know you’re entirely protected.
PREVENT SCAMS ONLINE
Here are the top 8 ways to prevent scams online:
- Improve your internet security by using securely generated passwords from password managers like LastPass or Firefox Vault (no more birth dates or mom’s maiden name, please!)
- Never tell someone your credit card number, phone number, social security number or any financial information over the phone: if they say they only do business on the phone, it’s a scam.
- Prevent identity theft by investing in an RFID-blocking wallet to stop skimmers from stealing the data right out of your pocket.
- Stay aware of what things hold your personal information: passports, plane tickets and even old gift cards can be linked to information that can be used to steal your identity or hack into your bank account.
- Monitor and update social media privacy settings, concealing things like birthday, home address, and other pieces of information that are used to identify yourself to, for example, a bank.
- Use a tracker for your valuables, like your wallet, briefcase or even keychain to avoid loss and theft. You’ll always know the exact location of your belongings by tracking it on a map on your phone.
- Never open attachments or click on links through emails unless you know and trust the sender.
- And most importantly, always remain a little suspicious of everything on the internet.
[Pictured above: Tracker Card and Chipolo iPhone app.]