• How To Protect Yourself From Scams

    Scams are becoming more and more prominent especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, even more than they already are. You can either be contacted via email, text messages, telephone calls or even in written format. I wanted to share with you my top and learnt tips to protect yourself from scams in a few different ways.

    PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMS USING MY 4 EASY TOP TIPS

    1. Report emails using the governments reporting email address

    My top and favourite way to report scam emails is by forwarding them to the government reporting email address for phising scam emails. It’s free and simple to do and doesn’t take very long to complete.

    Their email address is report@phising.gov.uk.

    All you need to do is forward the scam email you have received to this address and they will log it and track it down to remove them.
    Once you have emailed it to the reporting email address you will receive a reply from them with some information about scam emails and contact details should you need to contact the team.

    2. Ignore telephone calls from numbers you do not recognise

    If you are expecting a telephone call and recognise the number then go ahead and answer.

    But if you receive a telephone call out of the blue, from a number you don’t recognise and a location that’s not near you then I would ignore the call.
    If all else fails and it is a legit telephone call, they will call you back especially if it’s an urgent matter. More often than not they are scam calls and you shouldn’t answer them.

    Scam callers tend to call around 5-7pm but can call at any time of day.

    3. Always avoid giving out personal details over the phone, unless it is required for a purchase, medical details or something important from a caller you trust

    Never give out any personal details including your address, banking details or personal details like date of birth over the phone. Unless it is required and to a caller that you trust if you are calling your bank or an official store call line. Always call a telephone number on their official website rather than any correspondence that you have received as you never know if that correspondence has been copied by a scammer. These days it is very easy for scammers to mimic official correspondence that you may receive to make it look legitimate.

    4. Report scam text messages to a reporting free number

    If you receive a scam text message and it’s highly likely that you have at some point during the pandemic, you can report them to a reporting free number that doesn’t cost you.

    Make sure you block the number as well once you have received the scam text message.

    • You can copy and paste the contents of the text and send it to 7726.
    • You will then receive a text almost instantly asking for you to send them the name or number that is originated from.
    • Once you have sent them those details you will get another text that thanks you for reporting and that they will do everything they can to reduce scam texts.

    WAYS TO IDENTIFY A SCAM EMAIL:

    • • The email address is jibberish with a mixture of letters and numbers.
    • • It’s not from a sender you recognise.
    • • The body of the email contains random icons, symbols and doesn’t look official.
    • • Most scam emails tend to claim to be from delivery couriers like Royal Mail, DHL and DPD, TV Licensing, DVLA, X Rated websites/hook up sites, gambling sites and other websites asking you to update your password or account details.

    WAYS TO IDENTIFY A SCAM TEXT MESSAGE:

    • • You do not recognise the number
    • • The contents of the text message contains dodgy looking links, misplaced information
    • • Most text messages tend to claim to be from government officials especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery couriers like Royal Mail, DHL and DPD especially regarding a missing parcel or underpaid postage.

    Scammers also like using the following to try and catch you out:

    • Authority – Is the message claiming to be from someone official? For example, your bank, doctor, a solicitor, or a government department. Criminals often pretend to be important people or organisations to trick you into doing what they want.
    • Urgency – Are you told you have a limited time to respond (such as ‘within 24 hours’ or ‘immediately’)? Criminals often threaten you with fines or other negative consequences.
    • Emotion – Does the message make you panic, fearful, hopeful or curious? Criminals often use threatening language, make false claims of support, or tease you into wanting to find out more.
    • Scarcity – Is the message offering something in short supply, like concert tickets, money or a cure for medical conditions? Fear of missing out on a good deal or opportunity can make you respond quickly.
    • Current events – Are you expecting to see a message like this? Criminals often exploit current news stories, big events or specific times of year (like tax reporting) to make their scam seem more relevant to you.

    WHAT TO DO IF YOU RECEIVE SOMETHING LIKE THIS:

    • Do not reply to the email incase they can install virus software onto your computer/laptop or other device.
    • Do not click any links in the email as they could be filled with malware and corrupt your device.
    • Check directly with the provider or company it’s claiming to be from before you do anything.
    • Make sure your passwords are all UP TO DATE and STRONG. Do not include any personal details such as middle names, dates of births or family member names in your passwords – these can be easy to find out. Always include symbol characters in your passwords to make it harder to guess.
    • If you keep note of your passwords somewhere, I’d recommend keeping them in a password or fingerprint scan protected document rather than in a physical book form.
    • Report such email or text message to the email or number mentioned above and block the sender.


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