In today’s digital world we're often forced to take trust for granted but that doesn’t mean that we have to. Today we have teamed up with The Sun, the UK's most read newspaper to help The Sun's readers with our top 5 tips on how to protect against scammers and fraudsters who are looking to fleece you online...
Fraudsters use online market places to advertise and sell goods that either counterfeit or non-existent. These goods can range from PlayStations, mobile phones, cars or holidays. Unsuspecting victims are asked to pay by either bank transfer or in some cases are sent a link to a fake payment page mascaraing as a legitimate business. However the goods never arrive or if they do they are counterfeit. There are even documented cases of where people think they are getting a PlayStation 4 for a great price, but the package that arrives in the post contains a couple of bricks instead. Buyer Beware! The online market place won’t always uphold your dispute!
How to avoid: It comes back to the old adage that if a deal sounds to good to be true, it probably is. If someone offers you a discount to buy something by bank transfer or sends you to a different payment website than you expect then alarm bells should ring. Always use sites and payment methods such as credit cards that offer fraud protection.
Like before, fraudsters try to charge you for something that doesn’t exist, a common example is computer virus repairs. Be it via a pop-up on your computer or a phone call from someone telling you your computer has a virus and you need to pay to have it removed, this fraud is designed to take your money and as much personal information the scammer can get.
How to avoid: Make sure you have up to date anti virus software on your computer. If you get a message on your computer telling you that you have a virus and need to pay firstly try re-starting your computer and clearing your browser history, that will normally do the trick. Do not give credit card or bank details to remove the pop-up. Also if someone telephones you to tell you that your computer has a virus, just hang up on them.
Fake Competition or Charity
Not all competitions are scams, however they are a great way to get people to hand over vast amounts of personal information that can be used to steal your identity. Questions that seem quite innocent in one context can be useful to fraudsters in another. For example, when filling out a competition form you might give your Name, Address and Date of Birth, plus they might ask for a “verification” question for if you win such as your Mother’s maiden name. All of these questions will aid in a fraudster stealing your identity.
How to avoid: Be aware when filling out forms in person or online and think twice about the information you are giving out. Never use the same password for things like competitions or surveys as you would for your online banking, and be careful what personal information you do share.
Online Romance Scam
Fraudsters create fake online profiles and trick people on dating sites / apps into lending them money. The scammer builds up trust with the person by messaging and talking with the victim then suddenly has an emergency or needs cash to come and meet them.
How to avoid: Never give money to someone you have only spoken to online and always check the identity of someone you are getting involved with. Genuine people won’t mind if you want to verify they are who they say they are, if someone has a problem with it, then walk away.
Holiday Home Rental Scam
Much like the Ghost Goods scam, holiday rental fraud is when you hand over money only to discover the holiday, accommodation you’ve paid for doesn’t exist. This is done by advertising either a fake property or a property that they have cloned. Victims are asked to pay up front by bank transfer to secure the rental only to find that it doesn’t exist.
How to avoid; Always use the holiday rental companies payment system, never do a direct bank transfer. Do your research on the property before renting and check reviews.
Our latest research, in partnership with International Fraud Awareness Week, shockingly revealed that one in five of us would risk being scammed if we thought we were getting a good deal online. Featured in The Sunday Express, our research shows the risks people take to get a bargain. Read the full research here to find out what else we discovered.
Are you ready to beat the scammers? If you're dealing with someone you don’t know online, you can protect yourself from fraud by asking them to do a HooYu identity confirmation. HooYu enables people to confirm another person’s identity in real time without the need to share their sensitive personal information. https://www.hooyu.com/confirm/identity
When you’re about to transact with someone and you want to be sure they are who they say they are, you can ask them to do a HooYu ID confirmation with you.